The methods by which I make sculptures include welding, sewing, weaving, braiding, winding, draping and decorating. Ideas about what comprises "women's work" and questions of where Art, function, craft and design intersect are on my mind. Because of my method of creation, does that make my work feminine or feminist? Many of my sculptures are composed of a combination of industrial and domestic materials. Others are all soft. Some are appropriate for outdoor use, some for indoor use only and some can be used either indoors or out. Most recently I have been incorporating ink jet prints into the surfaces of my sculptures. I often work on a series of pieces that have the same theme such as my Rose Series and my Sculpture for Home Use.
Although sometimes humorous, my sculptures, digital prints, drawings and collages make allusions to such issues as the passage of time, the digital age or gender roles. When creating my Resination series, however, I am simply experimenting with materials and visual and actual space. For me, new ideas often emerge from experimentation.
The boundaries between sculptures, toys and furniture are sometimes blurred. Many of my sculptures are interactive, but not necessarily functional in a traditional sense. Some of the sculptures can be sat on, leaned against, walked through or walked into. In this way the visitor experiences the work physically as well as visually.
Another thing I think about is the passage of time. I think about it in several ways. I think about the time it takes to make the sculpture. Sometimes I think of myself as a Madam Defarge, weaving the history into the surface,
history meaning the events going on in my life during the time that I meditatively weave a surface. I think also about the time in history the sculpture refers to. I have the sense that art can only be created at a certain time in history because it depends on both what Art has preceded it and what the time in which it is being created is like.
One’s idea of beauty changes from one era to another. While I create a piece of art, I think about how its appearance will affect the viewers interpretation it. If a work of art is ugly it can be repulsive giving the work a different interpretation than if the same subject matter looks beautiful. Beauty can be a powerful tool to seduce or repulse one’s audience.
Lastly, I enjoy incorporating a little sly humor into some of my sculptures. In general, making large, aggressive forms and covering them with delicate surfaces and sometimes surprising little details is visually humorous. Multiple overlapping and intertwining meanings lend to some humor. For example my sculpture, Zipped, is a cross between a condom and a dress. That said, the sculptures, Endless and Exposed, that I made recently during the Coronavirus are not humorous. It is not a time that makes one feel like joking.
Niki Ketchman's Studio Tour