Want to have the most awesome tea party in the history of like, ever? Call up Ronit Baranga and beg her to sell you some of her work. You can invite that creepy ass guy from Pan’s Labyrinth, one of Ridley Scott’s Xenomorphs and maybe the Sarlacc, because, you know, someone’s going to have to hold up the conversation. Anyway, here’s the answers Ronit Baranga had to our questions, you should read them.
What do you use for supplies? Where do you get them?
Most of my art is made of clay; different kinds of clay like liquid clay for slip casting, solid clay for sculpting and for wheel throwing. I also use glazes, underglazes and decals. All my supplies are purchased in specialty ceramic stores.
How long does the average piece take you to finish? How do you know when you’re done?
I can’t estimate time in my art. When I feel the sculpture is completed, I stop working on it. This varies from piece to piece. I usually work on several sculptures at once due to the different drying periods required for the clay to reach its optimal working state.
What’s your favorite piece? Why is it your favorite, what does it mean to you?
It is difficult for me to choose a single favorite piece. Currently, I am interested in sculptures that deal with the relations between useful plates and cups and body parts. This idea evolves from sculpture to sculpture.
What’s your least favorite piece? What have you learned from it, what steps have you taken to make sure all your subsequent work is better?
My least favorite series of works deals with a connection between dove wings and electronic circuits. Thinking of the sculpture before I started working on it, I loved the idea of the wings carrying a heavy conceptual load since biblical times and the organic connection between the wings, to modern electronic circuits, which contain information hidden from the human eye. In practice, the series of sculptures did not come out as I expected and I decided to leave it for now. But, I will definitely return to this theme in the future.
Tell us your process, where does it start, how does it end?
My work process begins with an image of the sculpture I see in my imagination. The image connects to the idea, as it formulates. As the process continues, I search for technical methods to sculpt my images. Usually I create partial casts of the image – then I connect all the molded pieces together to a single sculpture. Most of the time, the sculpture
turns out as I imagined in the beginning.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Is there a significance to the use of fingers and mouths?
The use of fingers and mouths in my work is full of intent and meaning. The fingers and the mouth are very sensual organs in the human body and are therefore very powerful as separated items from it. The “seamless” combination of these organs in plates or cups, appearing as one, creates, in my opinion, new items that “feel” their environment and respond to it.
The main idea of these series of works is that the useful, passive plate or cup becomes active due to this transformation and can decide on its own how to behave in the situation it is in: whether to allow others to use it, whether to use itself or maybe even escape.
Who do you consider to be your influences?
I am not influenced by anyone specific. I read a lot and try to be exposed to many different fields of knowledge that interest me. My university level studies includes Psychology, Literature and Art History, I constantly consume art and hope this enriches my conceptual thinking and helps me create interesting, accurate art.
How long have you been doing sculpture? What was your first piece?
I’ve always painted, but I started sculpting only in College, when studying art, over 10 years ago. The courses I initially took were about painting and conceptual thinking. I’ve entered the ceramics department by mistake. and have been addicted to clay since then. My first sculptures were exercises, irrelevant to my current art.
How has your work changed since then?
How has the field of sculpture changed since you began? How do you see it changing in the future?
The most significant change in the field of sculpture, in my opinion, is social networking. The Web enables me, as an artist, to exhibit my art to people worldwide, and enables those who appreciate it to pass it on over and over again. Today, I could proudly say that my art has reached an enormous amount of people all over the world, without any intervention or influence by the politics of the art world. I believe this change will surely impact the art world in the future.
Looking back, what advice would you have given yourself when you first began?
What are you doing now to challenge yourself/push your own boundaries/take your work to the next level?
Currently, I am working on a realistic, figurative sculpture – in full size. This is a great challenge for me.
Can you tell us about what’s next for you? What are you excited about right now?
I am currently working on the concept of transition from childhood to femininity, a transition phase loaded with questions and emotional stress, hidden under the surface. I am working on a figurative sculpture of a girl whose arms are made of multiple hands, pointed towards her. The feeling I am trying to convey is between emotional closure and hiding to self-embrace.
Have you ever served a meal using your pieces? Would you ever?
My pieces are sculptures and are not created for use. But. once, in a family holiday meal, I used a set of bowls on fingers. The set was placed in the center of the table, containing different types of food as part of the traditional, ceremonial meal. This was a sort of installation that expressed the tension between the participants of the large, meaningful, family meal. The bowls were placed on the table as if they have started to scatter and drift apart from each other in an attempt to escape from the social situation in which they are obligated to take part,