My goal with Simple Sumptuous was to present functional ceramics in a setting where they were able to communicate as both functional items and visual art. To do this, I needed to communicate to the viewer that one’s idea of “functional” was entirely subjective, and, in fact, there are many possible formal solutions.

To accomplish this, I created four very different dinner settings. Each contained dinner settings for four people, and each individual setting included the basic items: dinner plate, side plate, soup bowl, dessert bowl, and cup and saucer. However, the form and color of each dinner set changed from one table of dishes to another.

I presented the four dinner sets on four tables, each covered with a simple white tablecloth. For this show, I wanted to use a white background for the vessels because I was directed the viewers’ attention to the fact that although these were functional vessels, they were exhibited in a traditional gallery setting.

The main point I was making was that although the parameters for the content of each set were the same (a set for four people containing six objects each) the end result could vary in visual complexity. The choice is left to the user/viewer to decide which particular set they would want in their homes. The feedback I received from the show confirmed my guess that each set had its own particular appeal, and none of the sets were more “popular” than the others.

All images this gallery copyright Natasha L. Holmes
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