Jami Porter Lara – LDS-MHB-9SBR-0917CE-01
Dimensions: 18 x 8 x 8″
Media: pit-fired foraged clay
Jami Porter Lara’s artworks marry concepts and materials that are inherently inequivalent in both status and appearance. Her practice of merging these materials insists upon an ultimate equality that transcends socio-economic differences of civilization.
At first glance, Jami Porter Lara’s glistening, black works evoke visual connections reaching back to Native American black on black pottery, and forward to futuristic techno-works. This dichotomy in visual, material, and philosophical associations is part of the profound message inherent in Porter Lara’s art. She takes the ancient material of clay, which she retrieves from the land in New Mexico. Then she harnesses the element of fire–like an alchemist–to transform that clay into an elegant vessel, by firing it in a pit she dug outside her studio. Porter Lara’s input and output materials are inherently unequal. The clay she uses to shape her vessels is the result of centuries of decay. In a previous iteration, a particle of clay Porter Lara incorporates into her work may have helped compose a vase or chalice for a king or queen. But like everything in the cycle of life, things that were once beautiful and exalted become exactly equal to all other things when they return to their ultimate source–particles of earth. All things in nature–whether bodies that once lived, or natural objects–break down into the same fundamental elements.
Another aspect of equality Porter Lara’s work rebalances is that of socio-economics. By labeling her artworks with letters and numbers, she implies archaeological nomenclature. A naming device such as this implies that an object is important enough to be studied by future civilizations, for its beauty, function, or societal implication. In this case, Porter Lara has used the plastic liter bottle as the inspiration for the sculptural shape. The vessel’s articulated bottom and spouts immediately bring to mind the common place plastic bottle that litters streets, garbage cans, landfills and convenience stores world-wide. For wealthy societies, this plastic bottle might represent menacing litter. But for others, this insinuation of the plastic liter bottle symbolizes life itself. For people traveling across the desert border from Mexico into the United States, working far from home in fields under the hot sun, or making the migrant trek from their homeland, a single plastic bottle is the key to their continued existence. By merging the elevated with the dispossessed, both in concept and material, Jami Porter Lara’s artworks shine a light on the innate equality of all human beings: past, present, and future.
-Tonya Turner Carroll
Jami Porter Lara’s “LDS-MHB-9SBR-0917CE-01” is an extraordinarily beautiful work that takes its inspiration from a seemingly mundane object. If you look at the bottom you can see the tell-tale shapes of a large soda bottle. This work hints at anthropology and archaeology; a recognizable but mysterious object that may have been dug up in the past, or like plastic, that may be dug up in the future.