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Deconsructed Glazed Ceramics
by Alex Zablocki, USA

 

Why paint with glaze when you can build? When seeking to solve a problem, why limit yourself to the convention when other ways exist, and new ones wait to be found?

Alex’s work is a reminder that the path of least resistance is also the path of least discovery. Moreover, Alex proposes a process to make discovery flow; deconstruction. The playful beauty of his work is that instead of making the unconventional seem contrived, he appears to free his objects of limitations and in doing so reveals elements of the material and process anew.

The artist’s 'glaze stack' technique accomplish the deconstruction approach in the most blatantly illustrative manner. The two primary elements that ceramicists work with for millennia are clay, plus glaze, with clay as canvas and glaze as surface. But glaze is essentially glass – it often bubbles and pools even in conventional work. Alex traced this thread to its logical and extreme conclusion by casting the glaze into bricks that become structural. In more subtle ways throughout his work you will see this process repeat.

In Alex’s new "Orb" vases, old tricks are invented anew. From the outset, the “Orbs” are titled to tease at Alex’s proclivity for deconstruction; he has parsed the traditional Moon Jar as a simple, if slightly lumpen, ovoid orb with a contrastingly crisp collar and foot. No matter that the shape is made from conjoined coil-built hemispheres made over an old leather exercise ball, the essence of the traditional form remains unviolated even as it is reimagined.

Alex applies a decidedly less sympathetic treatment to the surface. Thick, frothy strata of glaze are piled on in successive firings, giving it robust dimensionality to the extent that it becomes sculptural. With each firing the glaze pulls at the thick-walled vessel, exerting a vice-like power as the glaze contracts when it vitrifies. The force is such that the surface develops pronounced tectonic cracks as evidence of the forces at play from the innocuous looking, icing-like glaze.