Color Up/Color Down:
Voices from Tangled Garden

June 13, 2014 — September 7, 2014
In the Craft Garden

Jo Zider is a Houston artist who works primarily in clay for her sculptures and installations. Her installation, Color Up/Color Down consists of 36 ceramic pieces, which are currently installed in the Craft Garden at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.

“My work of recent years seems to some to have taken a dark turn, finding expression in forms that represent suffering: bones that are silent, tongues that try to speak, feet that struggle to find their path. I have internalized the experiences of many and found myself advocating their cause with an aesthetic that I hope will touch the souls of perpetrators, as well as victims, to act as a healing force through understanding. The human-bone simulations allow me a form of prayer as the clay is pulled and formed, always curved to show stress.”

Tangled Garden was painted by E. H. MacDonald in 1919—it was an image of his own neglected garden. What in his life distracted him from the usual bucolic, serene representations of landscape? The contrast of bright reds and yellows to the dulling of greens and the dry, wrinkled, twisting, tangled vegetation gave me a visual for my installation for Color Up/Color Down. Soldiers who die in war, commit suicide, or return to their families different, altered, disturbed or neglected may have metals to hang on their chests but are no longer the same. They are not the people whom loved ones described as enthusiastic, idealistic, eager to action, quick to judgment, wanting to go to war to fight for their country’s honor and glory. So, the tongues speak, and the changing voices resonate from the garden as the feet try to find their pathway forward in their altered lives.”

–Jo Zider

Above: (1-4) “Color Up/Color Down: Voices from Tangled Garden” in the Craft Garden at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Photos by HCCC.