Discovering Art That Inspires

I Dont' Mind Art Being Ugly: Jonathan Wade

Jonathan Wade, a contemporary ceramist based in Glasgow, finds beauty and inspiration from the intervention of nature on our modern world – unplanned architecture and objects without design as he calls it. The aesthetics of his works are often beyond the conventional; sometimes he prefers them to be ugly.

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Artist Statement

In winter I found a tree within the woods with an unusual growth on its otherwise straight trunk. The form was so protrusive and regular that it seemed unnatural, but camouflaged by uniform bark. Observing the tree in the flat light and quiet, cold wind, I was fascinated by the object and the experience.

I follow lines of investigation that attempt to interpret this and other experiences. I look to objects and situations that I feel capture qualities of ambiguousness, intervention, transience or coincidence. The interaction of natural and created is significant.

As viewer I measure an experience with personal and collective layers of filtering, selection and interpretation. I read symbols or register association, accept influence and relate to objects in space. In some circumstances I can experience an enhanced sensation of an object’s existence - an aura or presence. Some objects are revered for this or different reasons, others not.

My background is in ceramics, and a driving force behind my work is to investigate the expression of qualities that are specific and unique to ceramic - material qualities of clays in differing physical states, control and expression in making, and interaction between a clay ‘body’ and surface. 
Alongside form, scale, presentation and association, the surface of an object is important as the point of interaction.

To use ceramics as my primary means of expression has unavoidably led me to consider the relative permanence or impermanence of materials, and further to this, the longevity and history of ceramic objects.

Use of ‘alchemical’ processes that turn clay into ceramic through the application of heat, altering chemical and crystalline structures of material that has itself undergone transformations measured in vast geological timescales, influences my thinking and making.

Jonathan Wade

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