I have long been fascinated by the unconsciousness; the hidden mental substrate that we all share. I believe that having a part of ourselves that we can only experience in sleep, daydreams, or deep reveries is critical to how we experience the world. It's the silent audience to our inner narration, a presence we can feel and see evidence of, but never view directly. In the book "What It Is," the author Lynda Barry describes playing by herself as a child and there being a feeling of something else "playing back." I think this mysterious part of ourselves is critical to how we develop imagination, and from imagination, empathy. In spite of our current moment of dissonance and crisis, I still see hope in the power of these things to connect us. This work began as a meditation on these themes, but grew to include others, including memory, landscape, and the body, as well as the self-organizing principle of matter and how it relates to life, evolution, and the development of consciousness. My intention for this work is to give the viewer a quiet moment of questioning, reverie, and wonder.
John Utgaard grew up in Carbondale, Illinois and became interested in Ceramics while in high school. He studied ceramics at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, the Kansas City Art Institute, and at Alfred University, where he received his MFA in 1999. In addition to having been an artist in residence at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana, John taught at the University of Texas at Austin, Penn State University, and currently teach in the ceramics area of Murray State’s department of Art and Design.