Sam Harvey


sam-harveySam Harvey received his MFA from Alfred University and BFA from Kansas City Art Institute. He has taught workshops nationally and internationally, including at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado, in Taiwan and in Japan. He has shown nationally at such venues as Lill Street Arts Center, Chicago; Santa Fe Clay, Santa Fe; Baltimore Clay Works, Baltimore.

Artist Statement

I am attracted to beautiful objects. Objects that convey the thought process, sensibility and history of their maker. Whether an object of art is constructed of clay, molded styrofoam, steel, or canvass and paint, it conveys an idea, an intent to communicate. Out of cognition and the creative thinking process comes the desire to construct and make visible our individual stories, questions and desires.

My intent is to build pieces that connote that a story is being written, a narrative that takes the reader on a journey one sentence or paragraph at a time. I strive to create a map which is interpreted metaphorically rather than literally. Throughout each piece, within the body of the form, are areas that expand and contract, places of rest and transition. These shifts of volume and planes allow an investigation to allusions of anatomy. The clay is coaxed into bulbous swellings suggestive of shoulders or a rounded belly or cantilevered out like an arm reaching or grounded like the solid foundation of a body in akimbo posture.

As part of the sensory dialogue I want the viewer to be involved in, I leave the record of my making process visible. The viewers gaze is encouraged to traverse the landscape of the object, following finger print after successive finger print. Pinching and coiling are the tracks and evidence of the journey. My desire is to establish a kinesthetic conversation between the person viewing the work and myself. The tactility of the coils bridges a gap between idea and physicality. Perception becomes dialogue. Consequently, the viewer becomes an active participant in a conversation regarding architecture, scale, beauty and use.

Building with clay is an attempt at conveying an abstract idea in solid form. How I create the work is an organic process of discovery buttressed by historical references and a commitment to contemporary art awareness. My work proposes a journey, composed of amalgamations of various places I’ve traveled to or imagined. The job of the sculpture is to exist as a visual trigger for sensory perception.