Christina M. Carfora – Artist Statement

Travel reminds me I am alive. When I travel, I experience moments of sheer exhilaration and raw emotion. Too terrified to scream, our boat tipped vertically on its bow as fifteen-foot waves threatened to overtake the vessel. As the active volcano, Krakatoa grew smaller, the pain inside of me grew larger and I came to the horrifying realization I was stricken with Dengue Fever. Anxiously awaiting my first encounter with a wild Sumatran orangutan, I realized a Thomas Leaf monkey was quietly sitting next to me on a log. She stared deep into my eyes, reached out and grabbed my hair inquisitively. Tipping on the cliff edge of the mountain, I gasped as my feet left the ground, a thermal lifted me high in the air and I began paragliding over the Javanese mountains dotted with distant figures picking tealeaves. I was flying.

Though symbolism and storytelling, I wish to recall a specific moment, altered by time and memory. By integrating narratives, 2-dimensional drawings and the sculpted body, I set scenes where the viewer encounters the unexpected or the unknown. Here, I wish to draw the viewer in to a place of contemplation. Entering a story mid-sentence, familiar imagery gives clues to the scenario and encourages one to integrate and explore their own personal narrative to the work and experience a moment of discovery.

“Liminality” is a term derived from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold.” Emphasizing the liminality of travel, realistically sculpted ceramic figures move through space to indicate punctuated intervals of time. Some of the faces merge and blur through the passage of time or in action while others are fully rendered and expressing emotion in a moment of heightened experience. The movement indicated by multiplying of the faces describes time and movement. Some are fragmented into small slivers; others are blurred to evoke quick and insignificant moments. Fully rendered expressions capture feelings of deep emotions and powerful memories.

French anthropologist, Marc Augé coined the phrase “non-place” to refer to anthropological spaces of transience that do not hold enough significance to be regarded as “places.” A traveler’s journey places such as train stations, airports or crossroads and are strong symbols and metaphor for liminal places because they connect two realms. Here, major transformations occur and pave the way for access to esoteric knowledge and understand both realms. Panoramic, monochromatic silhouetted laser cut board images and hand drawings of maps, flora, fauna, and modes of transportation are layered to support the narrative as the visual story unfolds. Through drawings, space and time are described through scenes on the wall. Connection to history and the link to other cultures and ideas is what draws me to ceramics. Paper and wood are used to build the connection between the two and three-dimensional work. The detailed, time consuming methods used to build the work act as a physical document of time.

It is my hope that as the viewer embarks on the visual journey, contemplating the wonder and discomfort of exploring a new realm. Insight and perspective can be gleaned from punctuated intervals of emotion and wonder. In an effort to connect times, place and culture in a universal collective, emerges a greater human myth.