Virginia Rose Torrence’s mosaics are constructed entirely from found objects, principally the content of several bins of hoarded ceramic shards saved over the course of three decades by an adjunct ceramics professor at Marygrove College, where Crissman just finished his term as a professor (due to the closure of the undergraduate program).
“I’ve been working there all summer,” said Torrence, “because it’s a really beautiful space and because the whole upstairs was abandoned, and we got to do whatever we wanted. I was on a walk and I all of a sudden just realized that that was amazing free material.” The resulting body of work playfully reframes elements of classic portraiture and Dutch still life painting, drawing together figurative and abstract compositions that level the hierarchy between fine art and literal trash, including fruit rinds and bottle shards found on the her weekly walks at the nearby Belle Isle Park.
“I’m encapsulating all those materials under one skin of plastic — and that’s a really satisfying action, to stop the decay of something, and try to unify them and bring them all into the same space,” said Torrence. The image of a once-living fruit incorporated into a tile mosaic is jarring and, just as the symbology of Dutch still life presented notions of desire and memento mori, these ceramics subtly struggle with the ultimate futility of art to stop time, try as it might.