“A few years ago, I was moved to tears by a First People’s exhibition, “The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky”, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was struck, not just by the beauty and loving patience emanating from the work, but also by the fact that its aim was to capture the intangible magic of the phenomenal world within the tribe—to bring it down or out—to make it palpable and to inscribe it on objects in order to empower everyday life. For the people “using” the objects, these instruments of daily life forged connections, gave meaning, and established a sense of place. A cradleboard for the papoose, for example, was emblazoned with everything splendid the mother could invite: the sun, the moon, the stars, the animals as sacred. This is not “deco.” It’s invocation. It gives the child the world; it serves as protection and empowerment. A technique in traditional Japanese garden design is “to capture alive.” It means to capture not the surface, but rather the life force: the vital essence animating the physical. In the same way, these objects captured the “spirit world”—the spiritual world, which is alive and taps into the virtue inherent in sense objects and sensory fields, the worthwhile-ness of being. To my mind, this was not “art” in the conventional sense, but part of the tradition of “power objects,” conjoining functional and spiritual purpose.
The work consists of one-of-a kind, hand-painted porcelain objects that point the user toward the poignancy of daily rituals such as drinking a cup of tea in appreciation of the “art in everyday life”. Or they may pursue a kind of refined beauty to stand alone in the tradition of “art as vessel.” The work serves a Western lifestyle in providing vessels to present food or flowers, host a dinner party, or uplift domestic space.
My work is spiritually based. By spiritual I do not mean religious. I refer rather to the ability of objects to empower the user, the activity, and the environment. I am drawn to the potential of objects to provoke wakefulness, ignite true feeling, and connect the user to the luminosity, richness and power of direct, nonconceptual perception.
A pattern language of space, form, and energy inform the work. Space is rendered through background pattern, creating room for image to communicate. Space is not vacant but alive and saturated with energy, luminosity, the rubbing together of form and emptiness—their copulation, real, yet not real. Like filtered light through trees on a sunny day, luminosity arises through contrast: silver vs. gold, background and foreground, the juxtaposition of color and texture. Luminosity condenses in physical objects as yun. Yun is literally an ochre-like substance found in the streambeds of Tibet. In its broadest usage, this Tibetan term refers to places or objects that exude an enriching presence. Yun objects stop the mind and open perception, communicating directly to our innate, unfabricated awareness and sense perceptions. Translucent porcelain and layered effervescent media invite luminosity and yun. Yun objects accrue enriching presence and can culminate in a power object: a physical object with spiritual presence.
My intent is to create non-conceptual, perceptual art: art with the presence to provoke direct immediate openness. To deluge the thinking mind. That invites a gap—space—in which to see luminosity – in phenomena and within perception. The work alone is not the point. Communication and the viewer’s appreciation of their innate richness, is the point.
The work showcases the primary porcelain traditions of Jingdezhen, the renowned porcelain center of
China, used in service to my own creative purpose and expression: under-glaze blue and white (quinhua); overglaze (gucai, fencai, xincai); and celadon carving. Immersion in the media has evolved both abstract and traditional expressions featuring original icons with layered symbolic resonance,” Gina Stick.
Gina Etra Stick is an ceramic artist living in Halifax, NS. Born in Queens, NYC, she earned her BA in Studio Art from Brandeis University and the University of Colorado; and an MA Architecture from the University of Washington. Gina began her formative creative training at the age of 19 in an individual design apprenticeship with Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, renowned artist and meditation master credited with bringing Tibetan Buddhism, and the Buddhist inspired secular culture, the Shambhala Lineage, to the West. Gina also studied ceramics under Walter Ostrom and Joan Bruneau at NSCAD in the late 1990’s and completed three tutorials in traditional Chinese porcelain decoration in Jingdezhen, PRC.