CountyPrince George's County
Artist StatementInvestigating the materiality of the clay is the foundation and focal point for all of my vessels, sculptures and assemblages. I create wheel-thrown and hand-built forms in families, and these sculptural groupings explore the meeting point between natural and man-made worlds. The shapes and surface treatments take their influence from plants, water, rocks and clay, as well as from architecture, industry and machinery. The forms integrate these sometimes opposite sensibilities into a composed landscape, such as a stand of bamboo-like, truncated cylinders, perforated with small windows to look like corroded skyscrapers, or a simple, pure form such as a smooth sphere, marked on its surface with an off-center, wandering imprint, like bird tracks in the sand. The pieces are often truncated, off-center, weathered and perforated, combining natural movement and an apparent state of organic deterioration that invokes the cycle of life, death, decay. They investigate the nature of change, the compiling of memory, and a feeling of profound loss– the recognition of temporal beauty bound inextricably with grief. The pieces are like remnants, a landscape of objects that remain after some kind of significant change, grave markers, or organic matter that has survived a great fire. As creative expressions of form, movement and texture, my work is infused with a modern, minimal aesthetic while at the same time reminding one of a natural or ancient object exposed to the rigors of time. As does nature, my ceramics often incorporate repeated markings and patterns, and explore asymmetry while retaining balance, lightness, and quietude of form.
Ani Kasten has been working in the ceramic medium since 2000, beginning with an apprenticeship with British ceramist Rupert Spira. After a year in England, Kasten traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal where she spent four years as head of a project for developing stoneware technology for a community of artisan potters in the village of Thimi. Her training in England and the exotic working environment in Nepal have infused Kasten’s sculpture and vessels with a combined aesthetic, drawing on minimalist British studio ceramics, as well as ancient, weathered, hand- made objects born from traditional cultures throughout Asia. After leaving Nepal, Kasten began working in Oakland, California where the fresh natural beauty of the California coastline juxtaposed with extreme urban deterioration began to inform the language of her work. From 2007 through 2009, Ani was an Artist in Residence at Red Dirt Studio in Mt. Rainier, MD, where she worked closely with ceramic artist Margaret Boozer, and further developed her distinct combination of sculpture and vessel work, showing her ceramics nationally at galleries and craft shows. Since 2007, Kasten has been working in the Gateway Arts District of Prince Georges County Maryland, and in 2012 purchased a storefront building in Mount Rainier, MD, where she has established her current workspace. She has continued to exhibit her work nationally and internationally in galleries and fine craft exhibitions. She also creates work for designers and collectors on commission from her studio.