Hunter Stamps is Associate Professor of Ceramic Sculpture in the School of Art and Visual Studies at the University of Kentucky. He previously taught at the University of Central Arkansas, the University of Arkansas and the University of Alaska. Hunter received his M.F.A. from Indiana University in Bloomington and his B.F.A. from the University of North Carolina in Asheville.
The mixed media sculptures he creates incorporate ceramics, fabricated metal, molds, encaustics, rubbers, and resins. The psychologically charged forms communicate an abject and fragmented aspect of the human condition. Hunter’s work has been exhibited in over one hundred juried, invitational and solo exhibitions; including galleries across the nation as well as China, Germany, Austria, Croatia and Spain. Images of his work have been published in publications such as Ceramics Monthly and other scholarly journals, newspapers and exhibition catalogues.
Fascinated with kiln technology, Hunter has constructed several soda, salt, wood and oil burning kilns over the years. He has led undergraduates in researching, designing and constructing kilns fueled by used vegetable oil from local restaurants. During the summer of 2012, Hunter led students in the construction of a 16-foot ceramic wood-burning anagama kiln on the UK Coldstream Research Farm. Hunter has conducted workshops and participated in residencies at places such as the Watershed Center for Ceramic Art in New Castle, Maine and the Red Lodge Clay Center in Montana.
Hunter was a 2011 recipient of the Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council, which enabled him to travel to the People’s Republic of China as a Visiting Artist/Scholar for the West Virginia University’s Ceramics in China Program at the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute (JCI). The body of work made in China was exhibited in a solo exhibition at JCI and he presented lectures at numerous universities and art centers.
My work investigates how the mind collects and organizes fragmented images from memory in order to continuously recreate a sense of history and self. The work manipulates, abstracts, and conceptualizes the body’s material and psychological reality. The intent of my work is to seduce and engage the viewer with temporal surfaces and organic formal abstractions that trigger meditation on the mutability of the mind and body.
Psychological phobias, obsessions, aberrations, and anxieties are communicated through the tension and gesture of my formal language. Certain images and surfaces resonate in my mind and are synthesized into abstract visualizations for my sculptures. These visual references include cropped figurative photographs, scientific medical displays and other images of contortion, deformity and fluidity. This process of organic abstraction uses a vocabulary of reference to the body’s physicality without any literal details.
The physicality of my ceramic process exploits the malleability of clay and its tendency to convey the elasticity and muscularity of the body. The forms themselves are often thrown on the wheel, altered and then assembled to achieve the desired changing repetition of form. Surface treatments range from specially formulated low-fire glazes to atmospheric firings to mixed-media rubber, encaustic and resin applications. To further deny the interpretation of a coherent whole, the exterior of my sculptures are often intentionally irregular and penetrative, creating a temporal experience of the body that familiar yet unsettling.