Terry O’Day Gallery - CommonKnowledge
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Terry O’Day Gallery

Artist's Narrative:

All my life I have studied how things fit together by making objects that help me discover the underlying order of complex systems. Influenced at a young age by the notebooks of Leonard DaVinci, I developed an interest in the mechanics of living organisms. In the absence of a cadaver lab in the basement, I drew images of every animal around my home in an effort to gain an understanding of how they were built. Upon entering college, I took biology, physiology, and anatomy classes alongside my art classes because it seemed necessary to understand the hidden structures and inner workings that lay below the skin in order to draw a lifelike rendering. As a jeweler, I studied the engineering of the concealed underpinnings, hinges, and clasps that are essential to the wearability of a piece of jewelry. As a response to this information, I made toy-like objects with intricate inner mechanisms that caused the pieces to suddenly move or change as they were handled. The viewer's reaction was intended to mimic the surprise that is generated by realization as we experience personal growth. Eventually, my interest in the underlying structure of things progressed from the physical realm to the psychological. I began to see the metal objects I made as illustrations of the various thoughts, emotions, and belief systems that comprise the invisible framework that governs our decision-making processes. The effect of biological developmental stages and their relationship to philosophical or spiritual development is also an important aspect of these pieces. The ceramic pieces evoke the often referred to allusion that the body is a vessel that contains the soul. We, as spiritual beings, use this construct to enable us to achieve immortality. These figurative vessels also explore the underlying structures of our sexuality and how our sexual urges reflect the biological organism's desire for immortality and its effort to achieve it through reproduction and evolution.