“Tweening,” short for “inbetweening,” is an animation term meaning to generate intermediate frames that create the appearance of a smooth transition between two images. Trevor Baird engages with this process in his ceramic practice. He silkscreens comic-book panels, decorative patterns, and pop-culture motifs (such as Mickey Mouse’s gloved hand) onto plaster and transfers these onto clay slabs, which he then cuts, tears, folds, and layers to form a vessel. In this blending of mechanical reproduction and hand-building techniques, the imagery becomes fragmented, the narratives disjointed.
The vases and residual fragments presented in the exhibition meld high and pop culture influences, and explore the intersecting histories of function, labor, and decoration in the ceramic tradition. Throughout history, the vase form has lent itself to visual storytelling: vases bearing successive scenes, often drawn from epic poetry, foster a primitive illusion of motion when viewed in the round. Baird’s physical manipulations disrupt the slick illusion cultivated by contemporary digital processes such as tweening, and prompt us not only to question the supremacy of conventional linear narrative, but also to consider more broadly the ways in which we source, construct, and consume imagery.
Trevor Baird: Tweening is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and curated by Georgia Erger, Curatorial Assistant. Support for this exhibition is provided by the Alan and Rebecca Ross endowed exhibitions fund.