Malik Ibdah: Vessels of the Opus

Artist Statement

The alchemical concept of a "Union of Opposites" is the belief that all things in the universe are connected as one whole, and therefore, two polar opposites are actually one in the same. I apply this concept to the ceramic process, viewing it as its own union of opposites between the natural and artificial. Clay is a natural, organic material taken from the earth, and is intentionally manipulated to build a man-made artificial object, in the form of a vessel intended for functional use. Within my own work, I represent artificial and natural dual aspects of the ceramic process by creating functional, structured vessels, which are then altered from the inside to incorporate organic, textured shapes in the form. In these three ceramic vessels, I link my work back to alchemy by referencing the Magnum Opus through the use of color and texture. The first stage of the Magnum Opus is the blackening, and represents putrefaction. I chose this stage to represent the organic aspect within the first vessel. The second stage of the Magnum Opus is the whitening, and represents purification. I chose this stage to represent the inorganic aspect within the second vessel. The final stage of the Magnum Opus is the reddening, and represents the union of opposites. I chose this stage to represent the union of both organic and inorganic aspects within the third vessel. Together, these three vessels represent the nature of the ceramic process seen through the lens of alchemy. 

About the Project

  • Title of Work: Vessels of the Opus
  • Medium: three sculptural ceramic vessels, 22x10x12", 22x10x10", 21x11x13", should be displayed on pedestals
  • Student's Name: Malik Ibdah
  • Major: Art
  • Anticipated Graduation Date: 24-May
  • Hometown: Columbia, Missouri
  • Student's Mentor: Joe Pintz
  • Mentor's Department: Art