Baby Boy Sitting 1985, 2022
Glazed stoneware, found object
4.25” x 4.75” x 5.5"
Slip casting and mold making are both extremely process oriented techniques. When I first saw these Precious Moments in the second hand store, I dismissed them as mass produced junk. But then I saw one with a girl holding a flower pot and thought, wait, that couldn’t be simple mold. After studying the object, investigating its curves, analyzing its undercuts, and examining every detail of its sickly-sweet form, I realized that these Precious Moments were exceptional feats of commercial mold making. Sometimes involving four to five individual molds just to make one small sculpture, I began to think about the labor, time, and technical experience that has been intentionally whipped away from these pieces. All of the hours spent casting, assembling, hand painting, and glazing creating the illusion of an effortless means of production. In each of these pieces, I want to deconstruct the over romanticized narrative that is so quintessential to this line of collectible. I want to erase the fabricated sentiment and instead evoke the feeling or emotion that is hidden deep within the toxicity of each object’s naïve romance. But I also want to bring back that labor. By the clear presence of my hand and my fingerprints I ask you to view these as memorials to the working class, to the laborers that destroyed their bodies for the means of production; for the workers whose only legacy may be this object and its revolving residency at the shelves at the thrift store.
Victoria Ashley Shaheen received her BFA from the Corcoran College Of Art + Design in Washington DC and her MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. She has exhibited work nationally and internationally at galleries including the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Arrowmont School of Crafts, and the Corben Estate Art Centre. She has attended multiple residencies in the U.S. including Art Farm in Marquette, NE, The Vermont Studio Center, in Johnson Vermont, and 100W in Corsicana, TX. Additionally, she has attended residencies in Canada and New Zealand. Shaheen currently lives in New Jersey and works in New York City.