Kelcy Chase Folsom is the 2015-2018 Robert Chapman Turner Teaching Fellow at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. His exhibition hereafter, brings to a culmination his three years of teaching, research and making in Alfred.
My romantic life, at once tender and desperate, is the substance of my work. More specifically, I am interested in the ways that I project and receive desire (as Roland Barthes said, “I am devoured by desire, the impulse to be happy”), and negotiate my own relative experiences within it. This endless exchange between lovers – the absences, the expectations, the gravities, the intimacies, and the small catastrophes – is the realm into which I want to invite inquiry.
~Kelcy Chase Folsom
hereafter is a grouping of sculptures divided into the three parts that make up a single day - dawn, daylight, and dusk. Within that time that we are awake before sleep, we are often sharing time with each other. We grow to comprehend what is true regardless of denial or acceptance. We negotiate everything including the seemingly insignificant. Willfully and with trepidation, our decisions begin to create systems of how and what we believe.
I first heard the word hereafter in a dialogue line from the cult classic movie Steel Magnolias that my twin sister and I used to watch compulsively as children. The meaning of the word hereafter has changed for me over the years. It moved from a distinctly quotable moment in a movie -properly executed with a thick southern accent that I used to have -to a word that asks me to ponder the future and death. The moment there is desire there is suffering. How do we find solace in the consequence of desire? Every movement and every decision is calculating the hereafter.
Daylight, is a group of works titled, Myths, Stories, and Lies, which are inspired by the fact that we often see what we want to see verses what is actually there. This work questions how we negotiate the fragile, incomprehensible distinction between the internal and external world. Each sculpture is an assemblage of vessels made of cast newspaper atop a variety of found, domestic objects - a ladder, footstool, drying rack, and even a bowling ball. These found objects are symbols of routine, pleasure, and assistance, while the vessels are ghostly depictions that provoke a renegotiation of visual evidence perhaps leading by allusion to reveal - a history of love.
Carefully carved into the found objects are the lyrics of musical theater composer Stephen Sondheim. I use these lyrics both as homage to Sondheim and as reveals of what I find to be absolute truths. Company, Into the Woods and, my favorite, Sunday in the Park with George, provide words that linger about untethered to the stories from which they came. They are now embedded into a different kind of theatre. Each word resides here in the moment as a testament of a past coveted for the future. The cliché of carving your initials into a tree - an often first love, romantic gesture - unconsciously recognizes mortality by making a carved mark a permanent scarring
Dawn and dusk are the bookends. They are the liminal spaces that fuse the beginning and the end of a day. They seem almost identical conceptually – time for reflection and celebration. However, the presence and absence of full light and color make them distinctive. That phenomenological fact influences mood and the decisions that comes to reside in the moment. In this exhibition, these two spaces are surreal, one containing a machine that creates a sunrise and the other an elongated toilet that is a bench. These are objects posing questions about reality, vulnerability, and togetherness suggesting that in the fogginess that must come before clarity, we see a parallel or a mirror that reflects our lived, emotional reality.
About the Turner Teaching Fellowship
The Robert Chapman Turner Teaching Fellow in Ceramic Art was created in 2005 as part of a gift from Marlin Miler (AU '54), which established the Robert C. Turner Chair of Ceramic Art in honor of the late Robert C. Turner, Alfred MFA 1949. Robert Chapman Turner was an internationally regarded ceramic artist and a highly distinguished professor at Alfred University. The Turner Teaching Fellowship is a non-tenure, three-year position that recognizes anemerging artist in the field of ceramic art by providing visiting faculty and research status within the Ceramic Art Division, School of Art and Design, New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. The recipient is provided with a studio,access to fabrication facilities and teaching opportunities in anenvironment that promotes the importance of making as well as the exchange ofideas across genres and generations.
About the Artist
Kelsey Chase Folsom received a Masters of Fine Arts degree in ceramics from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in ceramics from Georgia State University, Atlanta.He has taught at Maryland Institute College of Art, The Corcoran College of Art and Design, University of the Arts, The George Washington University, and The Clay Studio.He has participated in residencies at The Clay Studio, Zentrum für Keramik-Berlin, and the Hambidge Center, among others. He has shown his work in over forty exhibitions nation-wide.