Caro Prados Burks

Softly & Tenderly

March 4 - April 8, 2023

The content of Caro Burks' ceramics comes from her upbringing in a declining mining community in Appalachia. She grew up fascinated by the pseudo-magical elements of post-industrial rural America. Her curiosity about storytelling and escapism was formed growing up while attending religious services that gave people spiritual experiences and metaphysical encounters. From a young age, this caused her to make connections between religious symbolism and the disappearing man-made landscape that dominates many southeastern small towns. Storytelling and religion used common techniques to talk about society, womanhood, and religious identity.

In adulthood, these stories lost their potency for her, but their influence gave her the language to tell stories of her own. She uses decorative symbolism, references from regional works, and the visual culture from her surroundings to communicate stories about strange realities. Often rooted in femininity, the desire for escapism, and disappearing industrial communities, her stories blend fantasy and reality to challenge ideas surrounding virtuosity and truthfulness.

The associations of craft and the Decorative in her work comes from her research and exposure to Yard-Art, Folk-Art, and the late 19th Century architecture that defined the excess of early industrialization. One of the few commonalities in these styles is a reliance on decorative symbolism and shared meaning. She uses recognizable signs and visual culture to tell old stories in new ways, devoid of familiar moral conclusions or clear endings.