Carissa Potter – Artist Profile

Anais Nin once said that the role of the writer is to not to say what we can but to say what we cannot. The sentiment certainly translates well into the visual arts. Often, dishonesty abounds in everyday pleasantries, which is why the artist strives to reveal the truths of human interaction. To detect the context and sub-context. The artist mines the crevices of everyday exchanges and finds the raw, unpolished, sometimes tarnished, kernels of mundane gesture and speech to create something undeniable about the human condition. The artist is often brave enough to produce work that shows what one may conceal and obscure. Meet Carissa Potter. Her utilization of simple materials to express complex emotions is a clever depiction of the intensity and gravity of love in an authentic way.

Potter’s drawings are created from various materials such as pen, ink, marker, and textiles. Using techniques such as printmaking and installation, Potter’s multi-faceted work takes on dimensions that fit the ideas she is trying to convey. At the SOMArts Cultural Center’s Spread group exhibition earlier this year, she included a print piece, “You Love Me”. The work consists of an accordion folded paper piece that declares the words, “You love me” followed by images of commonly liked things (i.e., ice cream, sweaters, Harrison Ford, and unicorns, to name a few). Potter’s use of everyday objects in her art creates a strong bond and connection with her viewer.

At first glance, Potter’s drawings and sketches seem simple and straightforward. There’s an accessibility and resonance to the work. Her fondness for turning the multitude of everyday actions and thoughts into fine art has a tremendous effect on what the viewer is willing to experience and how they will do that. People understand authenticity. Love, loss, frustration, anger, happiness, sadness, and elation are all emotions people can correlate to their own experiences. In Potter’s work, there is something for everyone regardless of whatever culture, sub-culture or ethnicity someone identifies with. There is something about the individual viewer in the work.

Although some of the works may produce feelings of uneasiness or conjure one’s insecurities and fears, they give the viewer permission to engage, feel, and re-act. For individuals that crave art that is witty and complex, yet simple and straightforward, Carissa Potter is the artist to view. With bits of humor nestled between the lines of images and text, one is welcome to simply enjoy the quips. The intention of the artist is also left to the viewer. Whether the art is a cathartic expression or musings on unanswered questions of lost love, the artist welcomes whatever perception and understanding you have of what you see. Another aspect of her work deconstructs the moments we may forbid ourselves to experience or reactions to situations that we may normally suppress. One may ask, seeing a chronicle of the artist’s depictions and understandings of love and loss, what makes this art and why pay attention? Without question, Potter braves the impervious layers of life, dusts off all the fossilized sentiments, desires, and angst and hits directly upon the nerves that force the observer to beautifully collide the past with the present and future.

Please click here to view Carissa Potter’s work.

Published to Asterisk SF Magazine.

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Author: Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos (b. 1978) is a Filipina-American writer, editor, curator, and educator whose research interests include new media and digital art, activism, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco, and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She serves as one of the editors-in-chief for Hyphen magazine. Her work appears in art21, Art Practical, Daily Serving, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and SF MOMA's Open Space. She has lectured at the De Young museum, Stanford University, School of Visual Arts, and more. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture (2016). She is currently a Yerba Buena Center for the Arts fellow researching the concept of citizenship. She also serves as executive staff for the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism and board member for the SOMArts Cultural Center.

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