Jonathan Keep is an artist potter who lives and works on the Suffolk coast in the UK. He was born and grew up in South Africa, obtaining a BA (Hons) Fine Art degree from the University of Natal. In 1986 he moved to England and received a MA from the Royal College of Art in 2002. His postgraduate show was awarded overall prize-winner of the Lattice Group Awards and he was awarded a Woo Foundation Graduate Arts Bursary.
Jonathan is a leading exponent of studio based ceramic 3D printing and in the last 10 years has been invited to undertake residencies, workshops and lecturing in over fifty institutions in more than twenty countries. In a visiting capacity he has taught at such schools as Florida State University USA, the Royal College of Art London, ENSA Limoges France, the Estonian Academy of Art, Tallinn and The Design School Reykjavik Iceland.
His work has been exhibited widely in the UK and abroad. Notable recent exhibitions have included the British Ceramic Biennial, the Taiwan Ceramic Biennial, Objects in Fux Boston Museum of Fine Arts,, The First Central China International Ceramic Biennale Henan, L’arbre de Darwin Limoges France, Gmunden Keramiksymposium touring Austria Germany Italy France and most recent, Officine SaffiAward 4 Milan.
Jonathan Keep’s work has been described as sculptural but he calls himself a potter in support of cultures from around the world and throughout history where pottery has been a vital Art form. The function of his pots are, as in sculpture, to communicate, to offer a personal expression and act as objects of existential exploration. These are sculptures that continue the tradition of using earth made containers as a metaphor for trying to make sense of the human condition.
Determined that his pots should be an expression of the age in which he is working, Jonathan has developed a making process where the shapes of his forms are drawn in computer code. The forms are then coil built with the aid of digital technology, better known as ceramic extrusion 3D printing that Jonathan has helped pioneer. This working process is born out of an interest in the way that computer code can be used to mimic natural patterns, processes and growth structures.
“In the elemental forces of earth, fire and water, pottery has traditionally drawn on Nature for inspiration. In using computer code to create my art works I have added a further dimension, to include the fundamental mathematical patterns and structures that underlie all natural forms and processes. My aim is to show, through the appreciation of these works, just how much we are connected at a very deep level to the natural world, physically and psychologically – materially and spiritually.”