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Bill is a ceramic sculptor — one who works at taking clay from the earth and transforming it into sculptures, which recall ancient myths. The clay, heavy to begin with, becomes light and intensely fragile as he works with it.
Before exploring art, Bill was a professor of literature and a dean for 30 years. He worked closely with very bright students and watched them transform themselves into startlingly wonderful young men and women. It was like watching butterflies emerge from pupae. Art is the same, except that the artist has a much more direct hand in the process. If a student or a child goes awry, one works hard to correct the problem. If a sculpture goes bad or blows up in the kiln, you mourn briefly, toss the shards, and move forward. It is much easier.
Thinking about his own process, Bill muses, “I don’t think you ‘become’ an artist. I think that we are all potential artists. It is when one decides to delve into one’s creativity that art can happen” Over these past two years, Bill continues searching for the creative vein of ore that dwells within, exploring the theme of the palimpsest—a surface which has had many words and images scratched upon it, only to be erased to make way for new perceptions.“ Each piece is designed to evoke more than it shows. “My art is not an illusion, but an allusion, a constant reference to events and people and moments outside the piece itself.” Bill creates one-of-a-kind sculptures, using a unique approach which forces the ceramic clay into unusual forms and textures evoking parchment, leather, bronze and other substances. “The sculptures are enigmas. Through them, I attempt to capture those moments when truths slip in and out of our grasp, leaving us certain that there is more to the universe than what is simply in front of us.”
For Bill life itself is a palimpsest. “Events and objects around us have a direct impact on our personal palimpsest, as we have on others.” The world Bill has shaped calls on us to search the levels below apparent surfaces to discover truths which bind us as magical beings. Now he has expanded his focus to see the human face as a reverse palimpsest that reveals truths, deep emotions, and past experience despite efforts to mask these vulnerabilities.
Every time he does a piece, it is a new discovery. The more he works, the more sure he is that a world without art is a world without insight into its soul. Not all artists can reach the highest levels, but all of us who work with sincerity and commitment will uncover at least a shred of the magic of the universe. And those of us who stop and absorb each piece are the richer for it.
Of the hundreds of Washington gallery exhibits in 2012, The Washington Post ranked Bill Mould’s last solo show at Touchstone among that year’s ten best. On September 5, Bill returns to Touchstone Gallery with a fresh approach to the elusive medium of semi-abstract ceramic clay. Bill Mould’s ABOUT FACE… et al solo exhibit (September 5 – 28, 2014) at Touchstone Gallery, 901 New York Ave NW, Washington DC previews September 3-4, 11am–6pm. The opening reception is Friday, September 5, 6 – 8:30 pm. Work in this exhibit has never been shown before.
Bill has exhibited widely through the DC/VA/MD area, as well as elsewhere up and down the East Coast. His work appears in many private collections in the area, as well as in New York City, the far West, the South, London and Paris. The National Institutes of Health commissioned him to create Hippocratic Oath, as the only art hanging in the NIH Executive Board Room. -Rosemary Luckett, Bill Mould