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Joshua Abbott

Trinity Grammar School



Raku clay

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” - Michelangelo. I explored self-creation and emancipation in my body of work, inspired by classical Greek and Roman marble sculptures of the perfected human form. The octopus, itself a symbol of creativity, is one of the few creatures that manipulates tools for its own benefit. The creature’s tentacles clasp the tools as it hews itself from the very stone that entraps or births it. My work pays homage to the idea that art imitates life. The search for perfection, which the ancients strove for, is still worthy of pursuit today.

My artmaking practice has been influenced by the study and interpretation of the following artists and works: Morgan Herrin, Octopus; Salvador Dali, Lobster Telephone; Michelangelo, Pieta; Jeff Samudosky, The Giant Pacific Octopus; unknown, Laocoön and his sons.

Marker's Commentary

The Angel in the Marble is a highly skilful ceramic sculptural form that creates a witty interplay between the artifice of the sculptural artwork and the illusion of reality. The artist, in this case the octopus, is both releasing itself from the artwork as well as creating the sculptural form in the simulated marble form. The manipulation of the clay body into fluid convincing tentacles as well as the carved block of marble shows a strong and accomplished understanding of the properties of the medium. Thoughtful consideration of the surface treatments with contrasting surface finishes and painterly application of underglazes complete the illusion.