Although trained as a painter, I work with clay. I throw thin porcelain cups and bowls…often I draw into them… I like to work with clay slabs….I use ceramic pencil and crayon, metal oxide, engobe, my hands and wooden tools…Clay is my canvas…

Oxides dripping, colors shadowing under earlier colors, glaze cascading down walls…. The act of throwing, the soft porcelain rising between my fingers, thin and wavering walls…fluid…knowing the moment to stop.

My cow and horse drawings are my responses to the moving animal…drawing…putting marks onto paper as the animal moves around. I do not intend a literal description, but rather a sense of them as they affect me on an emotional level.

To tell a story through an animal…to use its story as part of an ancient narrative…while at the same time bringing to mind today’s plight of engineered cattle. I want to reveal ancient truths…visual stories of the ancient auroch of prehistoric caves, of the sacred and revered cow of pagan myth, the giver of milk and nourishment to man, of the Sumerian epic story of Gilgamesh whose mother was ‘Lady Wild Cow’…of the bull with great horns over which ancient Crete athletes vaulted and summersaulted…of the Maremma cattle which still carry the genes of the prehistoric cattle. They are revered still by Italians as tradizione. The poem, Il Bove, by Nobel prize honored poet, Carducci, is studied by Italian school children. The imagery of long-horned cattle pulling carts of Etruscan and Roman peoples is depicted on ceramic forms as seen in museums today. I draw these native animals which still forage in the Maremma country of Italy.

Mardi Wood
January 2015