Karl Schwiesow


My work considers the relationship of handmade art objects with found and altered objects of utility and leisure seen through the lens of open and closed semantic systems by way of subverting functional fixedness. ​I combine objects that generate an inconclusive narrative to expose a dependency between open and closed systems of meaning and purpose. Through the lens of an open system the viewer experiences the piece visually first without terminology. The verbal occurs second, allowing for sensory experience to influence the specificity of language.  When the viewer experiences language first and sensory second it is a closed system because the term is attached to the object.  When the viewer experiences the sensory first and the terminology second it is an open system because the sensory is emotional and is not easily defined.

My art is rooted in exploring and expanding the physical and associative characteristics of an object’s original intention and to invent creative formulas which weave together imagery, materials, and concepts in a way that re-frames meaning at which point the object becomes a starting point for dialogue between our shared cultural experiences and assumptions.

Getting a Grip
ceramic and objects, 48 x 30 x 20 inches

Mission Creep

mixed media on canvas, 46 x 52 x 3 inches

Shadow Tool
ceramic & glazes, 57 x 13 x 24 inches