July 1, 2010


by Kate MacDowell

The artist says, "I created Daphne in part as a response to my experiences hiking through the backwoods of Oregon and Washington and stumbling across vast areas of clear-cut forest. In this piece, Bernini’s sculpture of Daphne pursued by Apollo is transformed by one additional step from woman to tree to clear-cut slash pile. The nymph’s distress now reflects a different kind of “rape.” Whether the piece is seen as an eco-feminist analogy, a deconstruction of an iconic artwork, a meditation on growth and death, or simply an alluring play of organic line and form, I invite viewers to think about what is lost from environmental degradation, what sensory delights of texture and form are removed as we allow part of our body to be cut away. With species destruction, is it not just biodiversity we lose, but visual imagery and symbolism as well? How does this erode our understanding of ourselves and the ability of artists to communicate?"

Kate MacDowell lives in Portland, Oregon. Her hand-built porcelain sculptures have been shown throughout the US, and in Japan, the U.K. and Europe. Her work has been featured in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Calle20, Ceramics Monthly, and Hi-Fructose, and online at NOTCOT.org, Street Anatomy, Sprayblog, FormFiftyFive, Abduzeedo, TreeHugger, JUXTAPOZ and more. You can find more of her work at her website, KateMacDowell.com.