Kia Kortelainen 

Growing up in a wandering military family and as a second generation Finn, fairy tales and narratives quickly became a mode for me to understand the world around me. Great Finnish story epics such as the Kalevala guided my moral beliefs and were great imaginative landscapes for my unruly brain. Much like the human psyche, these folkloric landscapes became places of veracious terror and complacent intimacy. My current work involves ceramic sculpture, animation,and large format print that explores the liminality of these spaces through the notion of civil and primal and material; between animal and human; and mechanical and natural. In these constructed environments the woods become symbolic as a place outside of society, ungoverned by social rules, standards, and prying eyes. Camps become a meeting place, a spot where you can retreat to relax or experience camaraderie or do whatever you want--it has a coarse gritty feralness with no room for good behaviour or judgment. The characters and imagery emanate both an innocence and horror that recall childhood fantasy, dreams, and nightmares. The bodies and images become suspended in a moment of both crisis and wonder-- life and death. Animals take the stage in the worlds I construct- they have the ability to create comparisons between the ideas and behaviours that they represent. Much like universal symbols, my imagery uses these connotations to examine the harmony, dependency, and destruction that linger over our relationship with the natural world. The animal characters manifest concepts of physical and psychological transformation by prying at the mysterious junction between human and animal worlds.