Theatre and Arts
The Circle is Unbroken
Internationally acclaimed ceramic artist, Jason Wason who lives and works in Cornwall will be showing over 50 pieces of his most recent body of work at the Lemon Street Gallery in Truro.
Jason Wason – The Circle Is Unbroken
Lemon Street Gallery, Truro
Saturday 7th April – Saturday 28th April 2007
"He lives as he works, uncompromisingly and entirely devoid of excess, on the windswept moors of West Penwith in Cornwall. On a fine day he can look out from this ancient edge of England over the blue Atlantic to the Scillies and beyond."
"During winter gales when the wind lashes the rain horizontally and with visibility down to zero, he occasionally has to erect a temporary buttress to prevent the end wall of his wooden studio from blowing in. In this demanding environment, Wason produces an extraordinary body of work. Its austere beauty and strong presence are a combination, as with all good work, of the person and the place.” Anthony Fagin (2006) – Ceramic Review
Jason Wason is an internationally acclaimed ceramic artist who lives and works in Cornwall, when he is not engaged as honoured guest ‘artist-in-residence’ in foreign lands such as Japan.
His most recent body of work – over 50 pieces - will be featured in a large solo exhibition taking up the three floors of the Lemon Street Gallery in Truro. This is a rare opportunity to view, locally, the great achievements of one of Cornwall’s most prestigious contemporary artists.
Jason Wason was born in Liverpool. He spent almost a decade travelling “with the aim of exploring the cultures of the Balkans, Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia”. Over the course of his extensive travels, Wason was continuously inspired by the durability, functionality, aesthetics and “indispensability” of the traditional wares native to the places he visited. This inspiration formed the seed that later blossomed in his own ceramic career.
Upon his return to the United Kingdom in 1972, Wason set up a craft co-operative in Scotland and began making pots himself. In 1976 he moved to Cornwall and was employed by Bernard Leach as an assistant in the production of domestic pottery thrown on the wheel at Leach Pottery, St. Ives. His close affiliation with the Leach Pottery extended beyond the death of Bernard Leach in 1979, although he established his own studio in West Penwith soon after.
The daily practice of throwing specified pots at the wheel for many years served a solid training for Wason. This, coupled with the historical and cultural context provided by Bernard Leach’s own ceramic collection and library equipped Wason with the background to advance his own style in subsequent years.
The surface treatment of the ceramics is a major theme of Wason’s work both in design and physical production. “I am encouraged when the finished pots sit comfortably with natural materials” reflects the artist. Three distinct phases of ceramic exploration characterise Wason’s own development as an artist. In his ‘Excavations Series – 1984-1990”, Raku was the primary technique used.
From 1992-2002 the emphasis on surface effect was further explored from another direction in his “Whiteware” series, using white St. Agnes clay containing a high concentration of malachite. From 2002, Wason has focused on what he refers to as “Saturated Metallic Vessels” where he experiments with adding various elements to the firing process to alter and mark the surface of the pots in different ways.
Since starting his own studio, Wason has exhibited around the world, including solo exhibitions in the National Museum & Gallery, Liverpool: Boymans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam and on several occasions at the Seto City Cultural Centre in Japan, as well as having work on display in the Tate, St. Ives.
He has further had work commissioned for British High Commission, Dhakar, Bangladesh for which he received a South West Arts Council Development Award (1990), and in 1998 was awarded another South West Arts Council grant to study Mimbres ceramics in the southwest region of New Mexico, USA.
Jason Wason has a wealth of impressions from his early travels to give depth to his understanding of varied possibilities for aesthetic form and function in the art of ceramics. His close affiliation with Japan, however, holds special significance to his mature ceramic career.
Wason has visited Japan six times since 1992, three visits in capacity as artist-in-residence at the Seto City Cultural Centre. There is a strong mutual respect between Wason and his Japanese peers that is fed by his opportunities to work and exhibit there.
Nonetheless, the heart of Wason’s art is ultimately fuelled from another source that is as much to do with the rugged landscape of South West Cornwall as it is to do with the many experiences he has had elsewhere.
last updated: 29/04/2008 at 13:56