"Miniature objects are both accessible and deceptively simple. Something small might appear insignificant until you're mere inches away, or holding it in your own hands. I've always been most curious about ritual and votive objects: those collected and carried by pilgrims, saints, and children; those used in healing or transformation ceremonies; and those with covert or lost purposes. Sometimes at this miniature scale, the facts of the object's making are on full display even if its utility is lost to time. This is a quality found in talismans, venerated relics, and even domestic tools separated from their original context.
In the case of my work, the scale invites the viewer to approach intimately and lean in or crouch down. Closer inspection reveals what's painted and what's stitched, and how the threads hold every limb in place. All of this can come into focus, but the reason for these very specific moves might remain unclear. I want to imbue the objects with spiritual significance or animism, and paying meticulous attention to something so small is a way to suggest deep import." -- Em Kettner
My miniature figurative sculptures and glazed tile drawings present theatrical and sensual scenes of interdependence. I weave directly onto delicate porcelain structures with cotton and silk thread to create patterned costumes or coverings. The sculptures are often assembled from separate or broken ceramic limbs which are bound together by the woven components, while the tiles are embedded like precious relics into hardwood frames. I return to motifs like the hybrid body and the bedridden body: figures intertwine in gestures both erotic and assistive, knitted to each other and their furniture supports. These vignettes celebrate a support system that in my life has been both social (care providers, animals, family, friends, lovers) and designed (furniture, mobility aids, architectural features). The miniature scale is a nod to votive objects that were historically placed on altars by the devout as pleas for relief from pain, illness, or deformity; here, however, by referencing familiar moments of physical fragility and mutual support, I’m hoping to revise problematic stereotypes about the disability community—chiefly that we are pitiable, passive, or cursed—and illuminate instead what makes each of us desirable, funny, and powerful. All of these intimate scenes are set as if for an eagle-eyed critic: a sickbed, a votive offering, a moment of private pleasure together insist that nothing is too sacred to be comical, or to be shared. -- Em Kettner