“My journey as an artist has been a vigorous interrogation in search of form,” says Ashwini Bhat. With a background in literature, translation, and classical dance, Bhat’s woodfire ceramics emphasize transformation, the physical process, and a sense of engagement as motion. Although trained in wheel throwing, she became a hand-builder by choice to better internalize and intensify the process. “I find it poignant that even in transformation, as clay turns to stone, the process of making – a fingertip depression, scrape, or dent – remains legible.”
Bhat is passionate about form: mass, volume, material, and movement; and her work celebrates the earth from which it is derived. Her work is not prone to ornamentation, but anagama-fired sculptures with natural-ash, gritty surfaces communicate evidence of both decay and perseverance. In her large-scale sculptures, she invites viewers to walk around and encounter the art as a necessary participant in revealing its deeper meaning and connection to the human form.
Bhat studied ceramics with Ray Meeker at Golden Bridge Pottery, Pondicherry, India. In 2012 she built her studio and woodfiring kiln near Auroville, Pondicherry, and continues to make sculptural ceramic works there and abroad. Her work has been featured in many galleries and exhibitions from Houston, Texas to New Delhi, India. Since 2014 Bhat, who lives part of the year in Newport, has been a visiting artist at Gustin Ceramics in South Dartmouth, MA.
Bhat’s Show at the Newport Art Museum coincides with the National Council of Educators for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) Conference in Providence in March 2015.