Artist: Laith Karmo
Red and White Ocular Tray, 2017
2.5" x 10" x 13.25"
"I’m a grocer. My dad is a grocer and his dad was a grocer. I’m also a ceramicist. For years I tried to separate the two. I thought to master one, I had to surrender the other. It was only when I began to embrace both, I could truly grasp the duality within ceramics itself, as both utilitarian and artistic. As physical commodities with spiritual proclivities. Objects as dimensional as myself.
The neighborhood markets I operate with my family provide endless inspiration. There is a palpable sense of community, but it’s something we must work to cultivate each day. In order to sustain one another, we must listen, we must care and we must innovate. Even in these modern times, we’re not that different from our ancestors. Sustenance and community are historically significant to ceramics. Finding a means to sustain and nourish each other was central to birth of the medium. Both of my careers have made me acutely aware of the parallels between the past and the present and when my work is at its most compelling, it’s when I honor the medium’s historical content and elevate its spiritual context as the ultimate cultivator of civility."
Laith Karmo moves through the world with a profound sense of wonder and a relentless desire to make sense of it. He has a lot of questions and from a young age, art became a means to examine those questions and give his ideas about the world space to stretch. The summer between high school and college, an art teacher prophetically lent him a wheel and a block of clay. By manipulating this material into something new, he was participating in one of the oldest traditions known to man, and within this medium, he found his place. Each piece Karmo creates is a direct reflection of where he is at a given moment in time — physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.