WASHINGTON, DC.- "Living Sculpture" by J.J. McCracken is a series of performances that showcase the beauty of clay's transformative qualities joined with the dramatic presence of staged figures. Several vignettes composed by McCracken will incorporate figures and props covered in soft tan-colored clay and will allude to concepts of time, transformation and corporeality. The vignettes will be arranged throughout the gallery over a three-week period, and can be simultaneously interpreted as paintings, sculptures, installation and performance.
The activities taking place in each vignette correspond to each other in action. A sphere sits in each of the vignettes and atop each of these spheres stands a robed figure. The first figure knits while the fabric created spills off the stage. As it piles onto the floor, another figure unravels the cloth. A third figure plays cello, filling the room with a 12-bar musical composition. After a pause, the same notes spill back into the room in reverse. A fourth continuously rolls small, perfect spheres of clay that dry, then drop into a pool of liquid clay below where they slowly fall apart. Finally, the remaining figure stands atop a sphere outside the gallery near the entrance. With an abacus, each entrant visiting the exhibition is counted by the sliding of a bead. Later, as the visitor departs, the bead is returned to its original position.
Collectively, these actions immerse the viewer in an entire environment, leaving one to contemplate impressions of time, observance, and transformation. McCracken discusses the significance of clay and of the sphere in her perceptual and experiential exploration:
"The sphere is a dynamic sculptural object. Experience informs our expectation of balls to continuously roll. Stationary, this form provides a pregnant pause. But within this pause, everything moves: Clay dries, cracks, and changes color. Cracks travel. Production yields accumulationof stitches, notes, clay balls and gallery visitors. Decay ensues, inverting the forming process. Time is expressed as suspended, progressing, and inverting all at once. Cycles emerge, yielding pattern. The repeat becomes predictable and stability is suggested. The immediate dissolve shatters any satisfaction gained in achieving."