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Richard Swanson
Steven Gorman

Shalya Marsh

Shayla marshShalya Marsh is a ceramic artist whose work holds a certain mystery and message in its fluid shapes and organic forms.

She says, "Through an exploration of decipherable codes and symbols, my work expresses the intrinsic limitation language places on communication. The hand built ceramic sculptures reference illuminated manuscripts, ancient cuneiforms, and primitive accounting systems known as tokens. These archaic systems of recording information are juxtaposed with modern codes and ciphers such as binary, substitution, and Morse. The viewer is invited to literally decode the piece's nonsensical pangrams, whimsical definitions, and historic cipher text.

I use simple mono-alphabetic substitutions in two layers of encryption. In the first, each texture of the ceramic work stands for an individual letter, and in the second, the shapes of the work reference codes such as Morse and binary. The incorporation of binary code into the work is a device that communicates a relationship to modern, digital technologically based forms of communication and encoding. These have become a part of our everyday experience but often go unnoticed.

Recent works have encoded famous cipher text, such as Japanese World War II diplomatic communiqués and passages from the Rosetta stone. The text that I choose serves as a code or metaphor for written and verbal communication. By encoding information, my work shows the inaccessibility of language and communication, creating new systems of signs and symbols that are equally as inadequate as language at conveying meaning."

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