Ice bliss, 2013 These white and gray cones, irregular and of different heights were made from icicles “grown” in PET bottles which were then molded at various stages of melting, like the retreat of glaciers in our mountains. Ice bliss is a metaphor for global warming. It is also the way art turns ice into vases. Function at service of contemplation and reflection and vice versa.
Jason Hess: New Work / Plinth Gallery, Denver, CO, USA April 6 - 28, 2012
Opening reception: Friday, April 6th, 6-9 pm.
Jason Hess is a professional ceramic artist and professor who lives in Arizona and instructs at Northern Arizona University. As an “avid wood firer”, his research for over 15 years has focused on the alchemy of the process — how the clay color, wood type, kiln design, and ash dispersion at high temperatures work together to “render a surface that is unattainable in other ways.”
A desire to have objects that fulfill specific purposes inspires him to make functional pots. The infinite and elusive variety of texture and color attainable through the various making and firing processes has generated an interest in the notion of presentation. Some of his work is presented so that a viewer might notice and appreciate subtle diversities in form and surface. By grouping similar forms of differing size and color the compositions create a visually dynamic display, which invites the viewer to enjoy the tactile nature of each individual piece and how they relate to one another.
His ceramic art has been featured in over 125 exhibitions worldwide. Jason has participated in residencies at the Archie Bray Foundation, in Montana, and at The Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China. He has also received numerous research grants from Northern Arizona University to research his medium and for the construction of the kilns. Jason’s work is either utilitarian or refers to utility in form while the presentation is more like characters relating to one another. He holds an MFA degree from Utah State University.
Gallery Hours: Thursday - Saturday, 12-5 pm, and by appointment.
Amanda Simmons makes kiln formed and cameo engraved glass vessels - tall, sculptural, thin walled columns - from her studio in Corsock. She is fascinated in the forms created by gravity within the kiln, the vessels becoming more complex as she perfects the slumping method. She has worked with glass for the past 9 years, studying at Central St Martin’s School of Art & Design in London, before re-locating to Dumfries & Galloway in 2005.
She combines these techniques with her interest in making marks in glass with diamond point engraving and a diamond wheel lathe. Her work involves many processes of firing, coldworking (working with diamond tools to shape and smooth) and sandblasting. She recently exhibited at the Crafts Council show for contemporary applied arts, COLLECT with Craftscotland and has since become a member of Contemporary Applied Arts in London. A winner of the Gold Award for Innovation, Creativity and potential to export at Origin 2010, she has just returned from a research trip to investigate the applied arts market on the East and West coast of USA funded by the Crafts Council and Uk Trade & Investment.
A keen supporter of the contemporary craft scene, she has just been selected to become the Creative Business Advisor (for Crafts) by Dumfries & Galloway Council, to stimulate, strengthen and support the creative industries sector across the region.
“A vessel has as its reference its own stylistic history and the function. To conserve, or serve out or to present a certain content, is an orientation towards basic human needs. The necessity of producing the form in order to protect contents, meets up with the need to express oneself and to consecrate things and attribute a value to them. From the outset vessels were always designed. The forms emerged from out of the technical capabilities, the practical necessities and a sense for rituals. Rituals are the source of civilization and culture. They bestow a form upon what is lacking in design. A shared meaning develops in them, which goes above and beyond what is merely necessary to life and relates towards what is sublime and greater. From the need to represent and pay homage to this, all art has developed. The rituals have changed, civilization has brought forth many flowers, art is ever the mirror. The manufacture of vessels is a self-evident cultural technique for all of mankind, and analogue to the role of the figure in sculpture, we can maintain that the ritual is the concrete opposite of the vessel.
And so the „vessel“ can today be a theme, in which function and ritual, our own history and the future may be reflected. Do rituals relate to something sublime? Can they create a shared meaning? What sort of a function do vessels have today?”
“In the original axiom the form follows the function, as the shape which corresponds to the purpose. The functionality in this work is not related to the potential of a thing to be useful, but rather to the logic involved in its manufacture. The necessary work steps to make a form mould with which objects can be reproduced in porcelain, are subject to specific preconditions. A sort of three dimensional stereotype has to be made in plaster, which forms a closed volume, or receptacle for the liquid porcelain. The usually many-pieced stereotypes must then be capable of being taken apart, so that the model around which they have arisen, and subsequently the reproduced object shall not be damaged. I interrupt this process before it is finished and use the stereotype incompletely. The function of (pouring) the form is extended. As a fragment it becomes part of the object and forms a threshold, a border, like the frame which separates the picture from the wall.” Johannes Nagel