Ceramic artist Shay Church, who's also assistant professor of art and head of the ceramic area at Virginia Commonwealth University, has created a gripping set of enormous wet clay animal sculptures that he refers to as Migrations Interrupted. “This puts a forceful, crude human twist on an elegant natural cycle,” he states. “I find comfort in meditating on their constant migratory state.”
Using wooden frames and a mixture of clay and sand, he's made both African elephants and gray whales. As part of their survival, each year, these species undergo long migrations. One of his last installations was on Broad Street in Philadelphia where he created three huge gray whales that looked as if they had mysteriously appeared. Rising from the gravel, they appeared to be beached on a street. Like all of his works, this one was highly collaborative as he got the community to help him construct the stunning works.
Church is currently working on a huge installation of a fallen tree in the downtown campus of Western Michigan University. Using 7,000 pounds of clay, and with the help of about 40 volunteers, he is creating his entry for Artprize 2013. Called Ancestor, the enormous sculpture takes inspiration from a tree that's fallen in a forest.
Church isn't new to Artprize. In 2009, he created the great Gray Whale you see above. Artprize 2013 opens September 18 and will run until October 6.
Above photo credit: Fellowship of the Rich
Photo credit: Priscilla Mouritzen
Photo credit: Julie K. Hanus/Foster White Gallery
Photo credit: Melody Joy Kramer