Artist's Statement LANDMARKS


The body of work for Landmarks has been driven by years of material and process research and experimentation, a result of my pursuit to find forms and surfaces that resonate beyond materiality and object.

The work is based on natural processes and raw earth materials.  I work intuitively while creating the pieces, responding to the form, surface and overall feel, ripping at edges and emphasizing natural cracks.  Many of my techniques come from mimicking nature's processes such as freeze and thaw, extreme moisture and drought, and erosion.

The Paternoster series is titled for its likeness to high elevation lakes, often called Paternosters (Latin for Our Father) because of their resemblance to rosary beads, one small lake is "strung together" by a small stream to the next alpine lake.  I enjoy the concept of the physical land relating to something internal, an inner sense of calm and meditation.

Intuition and an inner, centered emotion both play a large role during the creation of my work.  I push back and forth between masculine and feminine, raw and refined; the exuberance of traveling to a foreign land and the inner clarity and resonance of simply being.

I’m drawn to a sense of timelessness, the origin story of a stone, a glacier, or cracked desert earth, something that roots us in our existence beyond what humans have constructed.

These works are Landmarks that locate and orient me in the world.  They are way posts, markers, guides, fragments, or cairns for exploring the essence of our physical and inner landscapes.

Ideas behind sculptural vessels.

References to landscape and natural phenomena are often evident in my forms and working processes.  The forms are abstracted yet resemble the geological features of their origin, such as glacial ice or weathered rock.  By creating work using the material’s inherent properties and mimicking processes from nature, I am searching for the essence of the material’s structure and the qualities it naturally possesses.

I am drawn to geological formations and extreme landscapes that remind me of my own solitude and impermanence.  I am interested in exploring these ideas through my work by creating solitary, abstracted or fragmented forms that are reflective of the land, processes, and materials from which they are derived, while simultaneously having a visceral and metaphysical connection to the viewer.

My approach is to explore form and surface in a more intuitive manner, allowing the materials to more instinctively influence the making processes and results.  The materials and processes are exposed rather than being disguised, while my control over the work is less obvious, giving the finished piece the feel of a found object or fragment that you might happen upon in nature.

Using the materials and processes that have created and are continuously shaping the earth, I hope to relate to an elemental quality in both form and concept as a foundation for questions and ideas, as opposed to a closed system of statements and answers.


Excerpt from my 2012 graduate thesis, Chapter 1, Influence and Experience.

In 2005 I joined the U.S. Peace Corps and subsequently lived and worked in eastern Mongolia for two years.  My time there was challenging both mentally and physically, and I came away with a very different understanding of the world and the circumstances of human existence in a developing country.

Experiencing the everyday struggles of survival in such a harsh environment was sobering.  The Siberian winters and encroaching Gobi sandstorms made life difficult for the Mongolians living an isolated eighteen hours by car from the nearest city.  The landscape of the eastern steppe was flat and infinite, seemingly at the farthest edge of the world.  Its vastness created a sense of solitude, simultaneously comforting and frightening.  My surroundings would absorb me completely, leading to a great deal of self-reflection.  I often find myself trying to evoke that same mental space in the work that I make today, work that will break life down to a root understanding or provide a moment of clarity about the meaning of my own existence within the world.

Erica Iman makes hand-built, one-of-a-kind vessels that are often reflective of forms or fragments found in nature. She enjoys the raw material properties of clay and minerals and is continuously experimenting with these materials and processes to advance her work.

Erica received her BFA in Ceramics and BSE in Art from the University of Missouri Columbia in 2005 and obtained her MFA in Ceramics from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2012. Between earning her degrees she served 2 years in the U.S. Peace Corps on the Eastern Steppe of Mongolia and was a selected participant in the International Workshop for Ceramic Arts in Tokoname,(IWCAT) Japan program in 2007.  

Erica has taught in various schools and community arts centers and is currently a studio artist in Kansas City and a founding member of the KC Urban Potters.  She was awarded second place in the San Angelo National Ceramic Competition with the work being purchased by the San Angelo Museum of Fine Art, was selected for the 2013 NCECA Biennial Earth/Energy, and recently received an honorable mention in the 10th International Ceramics Competition, Mino, Japan.

In addition to her studio work and teaching, she gardens and works in the antiques and design side of her husband's auction business.