Heaven: Rebekah Bogard


September 13, 2014–November 16, 2014


The American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA) is proud to present Heaven: Rebekah Bogard in the Vault exhibition space. Bogard presents whimsical floral sculptures with deep jewel tones and oversized plant life to create a fantasy space illuminated by fire-lit sconces. The Opening Reception is on Saturday, September 13th from 6:00-9:00pm.

After spending many years imagining and creating fauna, which populated her fantastic world, the artist now devotes her attention to the flora.  Her animals are now relegated to the background to embellish the floral compositions.

Heaven represents a vision informed by a personal journey. Questioning our common portrayals of Heaven, the artist developed a personal understanding that “Heaven is a vision lit from within.” For Rebekah, beauty lays in the darkness, as you cannot experience light without obscurity.

The installation features sconces, wall sculptures, and floor pieces exhibited in dim light, creating a mysterious atmosphere. Heaven transports you to a mesmerizing and fantastic world where, as Rebekah Bogard states, “Fantasies become realities and dreams become actuality.”

Oil Lamp
Oil Lamp, 2014, Heaven: Rebekah Bogard

View More images from the show on FLICKR.

 Artist’s Statement

I employ fictional animals in my artwork to explore the narrative of my life and my own personal history as they provide me with both anonymity and security to the secrets I reveal. I enjoy utilizing animals because they are beautiful and mysterious creatures, vulnerable to relations with humans. This susceptibility gives them a sense of benevolence that is often lacking in human associations. I use this vulnerability as a source of power. It takes a brave and confident person or animal to make themselves vulnerable, for they must have the strength to withstand the consequences.

The narratives are purposefully ambiguous as there are many ways to interpret a single piece. Some pieces look cute, sweet, and innocent, but upon closer inspection, one realizes that the piece is conceptually more complicated. They may be read simultaneously as happy-go-lucky as well as melancholic and out of place. I blend the beautiful with the sad, fantasy with reality, idealism with truth, as well as the sexual with the innocent. I decidedly leave these compelling dualities open for the viewer to draw their own conclusions.

The fictional creatures juxtaposed with non-fictional animals are there to turn the world up-side-down and to leave the viewer off balance. By changing the rules of engagement, anything is possible in the world I create. Fantasies become realities and dreams become actuality. Concrete gender roles no longer exist. Females can be more like males, and males can be more like females.

As a female artist, I am interested in gender and how specific gender roles are assigned to both girls and women. I exploit normative female iconography such as flowers, butterflies, and curving-sensuous lines as well as “feminine” color combinations such as pinks and purples. I embrace female sexuality, vulnerability, and romance not as the stereotypical taboo, but as an empowered re-contextualization. Through these creatures, I embrace and reclaim female stereotypes, powerful messages relevant to today’s world.

-Rebekah Bogard