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Odyssey Ceramic Arts - Mac McCusker

Mac McCusker

macgenderoutlawweb macactionfigureweb

The content of my work regularly involves social commentary. I use a combination of humor, realism, current issues and sarcasm to create pieces about experiences with environmental issues, pollution, extinction, sexuality and gender. As a transgender artist and activist I create work that will inform and educate. The series I am currently working on are called Trans-Action Figures/Transgender Action Figures.

I intended from the beginning to use my residency at Odyssey to learn new ways of making sculpture and to embrace topics in our society that make people uncomfortable. Making a collection of Transgender Action Figures became a way for me to get comfortable talking about myself and transgender issues. The current dialogue in the media about Caitlin Jenner and Laverne Cox gave me the courage to approach this topic.
I usually build the figures in my work from a solid piece of clay. When the clay is leather hard the figure is cut apart, hollowed, then carefully put back together before the details are added. This is the method used for my recent self-portrait, "TopSurgery:60 Days Post-Op." I use underglazes, Cone 6 glazes, and low-fire glazes performing multiple firings to get the desired result.

The Trans-Action Figures in this series were made from clay. A plaster mold is then made of the figure. Learning the mold-making process has been a challenge. The figures start off 18 inches tall when I make the mold. There are separate molds for each arm and leg and the torso. The functionality of the figure depends on each appendage being lightweight enough for a single rubber band to hold it in place so that it can be posed. Once the mold is complete I am able to slip cast the figure.

The display boxes are made from slabs and then carved specifically for each figure. They are fired to cone 04 using low fire glazes, which are hand painted. Decals are then added to make the box look like an action figure display box. These figures are to be the role models that so many of us are looking for but cannot find in our current society.

mac3webMac McCusker graduated from Armstrong State University in Savannah, Georgia with a BA in Art and went on to teach and manage the Ceramics Department for the City of Savannah's Department of Cultural Affairs for several years. She received an MFA in Ceramics from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. Graduate school enabled Mac to work at other ceramic studios including MudFire, Meadowlark Studios, and Arrowmont. Her work has been in exhibitions nationally. Mac has been teaching workshops and classes at the college level in Savannah at Armstrong State University and Savannah State University before joining the Odyssey as a Resident Artist in 2015.