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Jamie Berry: Attrition

Jamie Berry creates installations and sculpture that explore themes of symbiosis and parasitism through wood and clay. Berry’s process involves baking clay pieces and physically combining them with wood while still hot, burning the wood and creating a caustic chemical relationship between the two materials.  Through the baking of clay and the burning of wood, Berry physically and chemically melds these two materials together, an act of both destruction and creation.

Underlying this caustic relationship of wood and clay, Berry states that the biological terms of symbiosis and parasitism serve as the conceptual framework of his work.  Symbiosis deals with the establishment of a relationship between two entities (usually animal to animal), while parasitism is a type of relationship that brings harm to one entity to the advantage of another creating a “host” and a “parasite.”


Despite the complex biological terms, Berry’s work is ultimately about human relationships and the connections that can exist between two separate entities.  Berry explains:


“I explore visual relationships between wood, displayed as a host, and clay, displayed as a parasite. The corruption, degradation, and otherwise harm that the wood overtly shows indicates a caustic reaction that has been brought about by the ceramic piece. The irony to most of my visual work is that this harm that the wood shows also draws more interest to the wood than it would under normal circumstances. This complexity can often be seen in human relationships that appear one way on the surface, yet may be dramatically different in reality.”

Jamie Berry was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, received his Bachelor's of Fine Art from the University of Montevallo in Alabama, and earned his Masters of Fine Art at the University of South Carolina, Columbia in 2018. He now holds the position of Artist-in-Residence, Gallery Director, and Instructor at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas.

Images courtesy of Ann Holderfield

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