Ian Gregory - September 2006

Ian Gregory - September 2006

Torso - Lifesize Stoneware

Torso - Lifesize Stoneware 1992

Chickens on base - 8" tall Raku

Chickens on base - 8" tall Raku 2002

Figure - 18" tall - Ash glazed stoneware

Figure - 18" tall - Ash glazed stoneware 2003

Artists Statement

One of my goals towards which I strive when engaged in the activity of manipulating clay is to work from the creative union of the conscious and the unconscious thought. Both in the use of imagery and in the development of sculptural considerations to form, light, colour and space as well as other factors that are peculiar to firing clay forms. Surface texture, glaze and reduction, control many decisions regarding the final outcome.

My imaginary is gleaned from experiences, from observing situations, other cultural backgrounds, and photography, along with music and literature, visual and graphic imagery both past and present.

The conscious element of controlling surface tension and form may appear random at times and are more or less successful in different pieces. The very process of Raku and Salt Glaze place very special demands on me as a maker and the materials used became a battlefield of the elements of earth, fire and water, which only occasionally I am able to control. However the thin line is always ever present, that of trying to avoid the 'kitsch' or becoming a conveyor and illustrator of others imaginary dogma.

"True works of art are about themselves. Their value relies upon aesthetic of their own emergence and possibilities opened up to an audience."

This statement implies an object must exist for its own sake and so in my work the starting point is mine, and mine alone, but it can take on others truth, that of the viewer with new meanings from which they draw their own reality.

It seems to me there are parallels about removing distance when we look at art. For example, when looking into space we know that the further we look, the father back in time we are seeing. Time and Space becoming the dimension. If this is so, our view of the universe will, little by little change entirely. This happens as time and ideas evolve. Ultimately it is about identity, who and where we are as well as how we perceive things. David Hockney stated:

"If you are an artist you will see in a sculpture of a Figure or artifact something the Historian or Critic will not. It's that, somebody made the piece with his hands and the person who made it had similarities to yourself. That Artist too had an urge to make something to depict something, to represent some form of perceived reality, to represent and reproduce experience even though he lived in a totally different era or society. The Artist shares with other Artists the activity and the same urge to communicate a way of seeing things in the world."

"Art captures the essence which reality sometimes more, sometimes less, spreads thin. In Art, the essence presents itself as an undiluted, powerful possibility and because Art incarnates what is possible, it can and does mean anything to the viewer." Josef Skvorecky.

"Time present and past are both perhaps present in time future and time future contained in the past. If all time is eternally present, all time is unredeemable." T.S. Eliot.

These surfaces and tensions I search for, those that preoccupy my time are ambivalent reflecting the passage of time, the material, the makers hand in combination with the final metomophus of fire.

Never the less working methods, material size as well as patterns of work edit these ideas by their restrictions. New techniques have come with time and a great deal of my studio hours are spent involved in experimentation. But ideas led, not process led and increasingly seem to break may conventional rules.

This parallel development of expressive form and the making process using modelling, throwing and carving in juxtaposition between the figurative man and animal relationships in my recent work. These repeat, are born, re-absorbed and develop within an accessible genre from the familiar world around my home in Dorset.

Although no longer a vessel maker, I retain the Leach tradition of heart and hand but feel as do others that todays Potters should address themselves to todays problems and whatever way we work in whatever genre, either as a Sculptor or Potter, the process is about solving these idea's.

In Britain and the rest of the western world our position is felicitous in that we are exposed to so many cultural influences. The Meso American and European traditional forms and images combined with Pop artifacts, Graffiti and all other visual symbols that we are bombarded with in our daily lives have had an influence on the work produced now. Cultist Chic also still has a strong pull and reward, as does the clinging to tradition without extending it forward. Nowadays since there is little need to make Sacred Art anymore, we do not work from religious convictions in the same way as earlier artists. They, however humble, gave their objects meaning, visual poise and imbued them with an intense feeling of inner spirituality. Hence the power that many of these objects exude is derived from the psyche itself and not just slavish gesture to reproduce Art as yet another consumer product.

Our modern folk forms and the street culture they feed are no longer produced from any clear conviction of the role they are to play in a modern society. It is a dilemma that all Art is caught up in. As with more archetypal sculptures created to embody nourishment and the glorification of some deity made so long ago by a forgotten hand, the fundamental need is still with us to continue to produce things of beauty and to extend our creative horizons however tenuous this might seem in these uncertain times.

One of ceramics contemporary roles is that it continues to provide Aesthetic Consolation and enrichment of daily life on a domestic scale.