Jeffrey Lloyd Dever, Love Bottle, 1998
There is a lingering perception in our culture that wonderful art results from a spontaneous moment of inspiration.
Although this may be true for some works of art, generally there is a substantial body of work and knowledge behind the artist that serve as the foundation for such success.
Unlike centuries prior where skills were acquired over years of training, we live in a time of rapid communication and change in which people frequently expect quick results.
Yet, the true mastery of any art medium is generally the result of much time spent looking, learning, practicing skills and evaluating one's path.
Jeffrey Lloyd Dever's
constructed vessel, "Love Bottle", 1998 is a watershed piece in his
evolution as a polymer artist.
After many years of experience as an artist/illustrator, Jeff began working with polymer in the late 1980's as a means to dimensional illustration.
approach to clay color was quite basic and his
ability to create a dimensional form was limited by whatever pre-existing armatures were available.
"discovery" of two techniques, one more personal and the other widespread, allowed him to actually bring into being his
vision of form and content.
This ability to control the medium for expressive purposes was crucial since "happy accidents" are rarely part of Jeff's work.
Love Bottle represents the first fruitions of Jeff's new found freedom and control as a polymer artist.
always works from carefully considered concepts.
One distinguishing feature of his
art is his
ability to create three dimensional forms of varying sizes and shapes.
However, this autonomy of form was not possible until he
figured out how to build his
own interior framework.
Rather than relying solely on what was available, he
realized a means of constructing whatever armature he
imagined by using cardboard as a platform.
The basic heart shape of Love Bottle is a union of two hollow forms.
With both concave and convex surfaces, it swells and contracts the way we would expect a three dimensional heart shape to do.
The spherical, striped bull's eye adds complexity by penetrating into the surface of the heart.
At the top, a flame, which relies on a simple foil support, functions as a stopper and can be removed.
The other "new" technique Jeff
utilized in constructing "Love Bottle" was the Skinner blend.
After years of illustrating using palettes of graduated shading and delicate color shifts, Jeff
was thrilled to learn how to replicate such effects with clay.
This capacity to make a subtly blended sheet of clay allowed him more command over how he
applied color to his
With "Love Bottle" Jeff
suggests many ideas about the range of love without resorting to sweetness or overt romanticism.
Through all of these obvious and more understated references, Jeff's
"Love Bottle" communicates many ideas about the nature of love.
As a work of art, it seamlessly unites form and function as a vessel and as a broad exploration of an idea.
Within the progression of Jeff's work, "Love Bottle" stands as a tangible manifestation of his
then new command of the material, which enabled him to create what he
had envisioned with skill, artistry, a bit of humor, and a lot of love.