Virginia Torrence

Untitled (Snake) 2016
gypsum cement – 36 x 24 in.

My work begins with an intuitive action. I may start with a slab of thick clay, a wooden board, an object, and from each point of departure I search. I do not have in mind a conclusion for the piece. Instead, I work with the materials at hand, clawing, digging, adding, subtracting, finessing, until I stumble upon a form that does not cry for change. The piece may take weeks to approach this point, or a few minutes. The way I work with materials varies from a rigid violent gouging to a careful and tender licking of the fingers.

There are certain symbols, types of touch, and a personal aesthetic that emerge from this process of searching. Some reoccurring symbols within my work are hair, fabric, holes, eyes, impressions, fruit, jewelry, and flesh.  All of these objects reference the body, but they are devoid of the presence which once employed them, so now point to an absence. I portray the presence of absence. The objects I use act as a metaphor for an intense desire for something lost. The way in which the imagery is rendered, from intangible abstraction, to carefully sculpted elements, to a piece that is a cast of an object itself, mirrors the way in which a memory recedes into darkness and ambiguity or how it may come into a tight and stunning focus. The process of remembering and forgetting is always in flux. Even when a presence does come close, it will skirt around the perimeter of clarity within the mind’s eye. I objectify the obscurity of fleeting memory images, creating a monument to unattainable desire for the past.