Beth Thompson

Sculpting in clay allows me to create something inanimate that feels like it is endowed with life and spirit. I can capture a moment in time, a snapshot that suspends that life force and present it in 3D with line, weight, and form while articulating its body with gesture and purpose to express the feeling in that moment.

I sculpt animals due to the way they connect with my audience. In an instant they can draw viewers in for a closer look. With just a glance, the sculpture’s expression can bring an audible reaction. Animals can instantly connect to the core of an emotion or memory, without any of the attachments, personal filters, or judgements placed on human subjects. Using an approachable subject allows me to attempt to explore inner human states of being, both dark and light, fragile and strong, accepted and excluded. I am inspired by the honesty of animal’s interactions with us—their sense of humor, use of play, and sense of kinship. Some say they’re just animals, without feelings, here for our exploitation. I see a soul, a spirit, a personality—living with a blend of interconnectedness to us and biological programming. Just like humans, animals developed flight, fight, freeze, and other programmed responses that are built into our DNA.

My work is evolving to capture the small intricacies of expression—what we see when we look into the eyes, creating tension in the body—while pushing to add more gesture and movement into the work. Capturing the correct anatomy, musculature, and believable kinesthetic attributes is important to me, along with conveying the inner feeling I am attempting to make the viewer sink into, for just a moment.