Soft Tissue Decomposition

Arts + Literature Laboratory presents Soft Tissue Decomposition, an exhibition by Madison artist Carolyn Orosz, from April 8 to April 29, 2017. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, April 8, 7-9pm (FREE).

About the Exhibition

Soft Tissue Decomposition is a series of poems that I wrote and translated into illustrated ceramic tiles. Although I am primarily a poet I have always been drawn working with my hands. This project allowed me to continue to work through some of the same concepts I had been exploring through my poetry but allowed me to express them through a more tactile and visual form.

My poems are associative and much of their meaning relies on the juxtaposition of images and a kind of tonal/mood work that is being done in that juxtaposition. The ceramic tiles work similarly as they allow for many separate images to be arranged and rearranged. Both my poems and theirillustrated counterparts explore a closeness with the natural world as well as the relationship between girl-hood and the grotesque.

The drawings on the tiles are reminiscent of drawings one might encounter in a children’s book. I have always been inspired particularly by the pen and ink illustrations in children's' books because of the way they not only accompany but illuminate the text. I wanted to try something similar with my own poems. Using the Mishima technique, I carved illustrations into unfired clay and layered with underglaze. As I was working through the process of carving and layering pigments I thought about the ways in which the ceramic medium might serve to not only interpret my poems but to also illuminate them. I sought to develop images that might push past the boundaries of each poem.

Carolyn Orosz is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at UW-Madison and managing editor of Devil's Lake. Her work can be found at Forklift, Ohio, and Beecher's Magazine among others. For the past year she has began to explore ceramics as a medium and has recently studied with ceramicists Gerit Grimm and Brian Kluge.

Ready to Visit?

Arts + Literature Laboratory is located in Madison’s Schenk-Atwood neighborhood at 2021 Winnebago Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53704.

Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11am-3pm during exhibitions or by appointment. Please check the exhibitions calendar before planning your visit, as the gallery is closed between exhibitions and other schedule changes are posted here.


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