Fire Paintings and Macro-Galleries: Photographs and Ceramic Pieces by Leslie Randolph

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Fire Paintings and Macro-Galleries
Photographs and Ceramic Pieces by Leslie Randolph
Sat, Jan 6, 4pm

In the ceramics world there's a lot of talk about the “kiln gods.” No matter what firing technique a ceramic artist uses, these “kiln gods” regularly bestow surprises, gifts. My firing choice has been 'barrel firing' since 2007. For me, this primitive technique involves piling pure white, unglazed ceramic forms in the bottom of a barrel, filling the barrel with wood, lighting the top wood and letting it burn to ash. The result is one of a kind pieces marked by flames filled with the fumes and other byproducts of burning wood, copper, cotton cloth and salt.

For five years I focused on the overall effect the barrel firings had on each piece. Some pieces were strikingly beautiful, others were shatter-worthy. Upon closer examination, I began noticing patterns and marks that reminded me of miniature paintings and the overall effect lost dominance. With a digital camera and close up lens I started exploring each piece and recording tiny paintings of creatures, figures, landscapes, and abstract compositions. Friends who looked at these images found different meaning and subjects in each one. I kept looking and shooting. I started wondering what I would find at an even closer level. I aimed a macro lens at a piece, put my eye to my camera's eyepiece and fell headlong into the macro-life of barrel-fired ceramic pieces.

The resulting images truly are 'Fire Paintings.' They capture the fire's movement, the colors and surface textures it lays down and the damage its fierceness leaves in its wake. The images are 'Fire Paintings' and their pieces 'Macro-Galleries.' Exhibited side by side these paintings and galleries represent my life perspective and experiences and my true creative love. The “kiln gods” really delivered.

Leslie Randolph was born in Spokane, Washington, grew up in Devonshire, Bermuda, started university studies in Cincinnati, Ohio and completed her bachelors degree in journalism at University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has resided in Salt Lake City since 1973. Leslie took her first pottery classes in 1980 and 1982. Two daughters, law school and a legal career curtailed her pottery until 1993 when Leslie began taking classes at the Salt Lake Art Center Ceramics School. Fifteen years later she built her own pottery studio and two years after that retired from law to give full time to clay.

Leslie's ceramic art is currently inspired by the firing technique of her choice: barrel firing in a 55 gallon steel barrel. The pieces fired in her barrel are unglazed and absorb color and marks from burning wood, salt and copper. The results are random, largely unpredictable, chaotic, and dramatic. To avoid being overpowered by the surface effects and to avoid interfering with the effects of firing, the forms must be simple but powerful. This is Leslie’s challenge in her art.

In 2012 Leslie began photographing the surfaces of her barrel fired work, first with a close up lens and then with a macro lens. She discovered to her delight that the pieces are macro galleries of miniature fire paintings reminiscent of her life experiences and perspectives. She continues to examine and photograph the unique paintings on each barrel fired piece.

Leslie also makes stoneware dishes and other functional work on a potter's wheel and from clay slabs. This work is fired in her reduction gas kiln. She is committed to making simple and comfortable-to-use forms.

Leslie's sculptural pieces have been exhibited at Springville Art Museum, Springville, Utah (2008); Hogle Zoo, Salt Lake City, Utah, (2007 - 2009); The Art Barn, Salt Lake City, Utah (2007); Gittins Gallery, University of Utah (2009), Patrick Moore Gallery, Salt Lake City, Utah (2009) Avenue West Gallery Spokane, Washington 2011) and Phillips Gallery, Salt Lake City, Utah (2013 – 2015.)

Location: Marmalade Branch

Contact Information: 801-594-8680