Raasha Gutierrez, from Johns Creek, Georgia, is a Fine Art Studio Concentration student who focuses on ceramics. She discovered her love for ceramic her Junior year of college after taking an upper level ceramics course. Her style is slip casting with complex molds for figurative work along with a love for throwing. Her goal is to use art to advocate for compelling, unheard stories.
Refinement Through Fires
The reflection between fragility and resilience are displayed through these ceramic objects by showing how the mental state affects the physical state. This metaphysical relationship in me is now brought to the tangible world for the audience to see. I’ve used casting to directly reflect my own body and carving to reveal how I now view it. Research has shown that disturbing experiences not only affect the mind but also the body. My artwork shows how my trauma not only changed my perspective of my body but also changed it physically as well.
I chose casting to portray how the objects reflect the personal relationship between my mind and body. By carving into these objects, the pain, the trauma, the nightmares are revealed; for even if the presence of trauma is not seen it still lingers. The clay firing process represents how trials and suffering develop refinement. To become stronger, the clay must withstand the clay firing process and undergo a physical reformation. I use this to reflect how life can go through hardships, but refinement and strength can develop as a result of these fires.
Performance art is combined with these ceramic objects to show my personal interaction with my trauma. The breakage reflects the extreme disappointment and devastation in my life, leaving me broken-hearted. After experiencing the trauma, life was never the same; my life was poisoned by the daily, toxic conflict. The act of pouring and injecting poison into the heart reflects that my life will always be tainted by those events. The pulling the heart out of the liquid shows how my heart was stripped of life and that I was left with the remains of what my life was.
Though life can still be dark, my artwork represents how beautiful life can still be. I want the audience to not only see this work but also see it reflected in their own life. I chose to focus on parts of my story to allow others to relate with it. Survivors suffer alone whether it is heartbreak, self-harm, verbal abuse, or dissociation. My artwork reveals that these individuals are not alone. These fires build resilience within these ceramic pieces and also within people, allowing the remnants to be seen and known.
Stripping shows the act of how the loss of life felt. How it felt like my heart was pulled out and left me to cope. How healing resulted in my world being stripped and malnourished of living.
Poisonings revels how these events felt like the penetration poison that results in the rotting and death of not only of my life but also of myself. Words and events have poisoned my life and have tinted my perspective of my past, present, and future. My trauma will always be with me, but learning how to cope will always be the hardest part.
Breaking shows the actual act that led my heart to being broken. How so often it felt like someone came and just demolished it. How I was left to pick up the pieces, and I was left to do was grieve this loss.