Kevin Conlin

October 2019

Kevin Conlin

Sedimentary Containment

Through research and field study, Kevin Conlin has worked closely with the historical record contained in layers of clay and bedrock. As a ceramic artist and an amateur paleontologist, he anchors his practice in the vast record of the earth’s past and the inevitable effects that humankind will have on its future.

Fossils contain a direct trace of life they represent, which has turned to stone through a complex set of essentially accidental processes. Clay undergoes a similar change, both in its formation and in kiln firing that returns it to rock. As a material, it not only speaks about the ancient past, but embodies and contains traces of all living things; Conlin’s vessels act as storehouses of this history.

Conlin creates his work by using textures from the earth, approaching it as a living and breathing organism. His pots contain imprints of rock, cliff face, and species of extinct organisms whose ancient history challenges human understanding of time.

Hundreds of millions of years of the fossilized archive has only preserved traces of living things, posing questions of what will remain million of years after human civilization is gone. Anthropocene is the term used to describe the current geological epoch, reflecting the vast influence that humans have had on the planet. Instead of a diversity of living creatures, our fossil record will include a vast archive of objects and detritus. Alongside evidence of insatiable use of natural resources.

Natalia Lebedinskaia

Director of Public Projects and Logistics

Vancouver Biennale