Artist's Statement

Bob Chance


The work on this site consists of forms that follow developments and changes in the way I approach my creative process. For years now I have been working with Raku—using low fire clay and glazes to make fairly simple round forms and glazing them with imagery and patterns using bright colors and a textured surface. Some of my most recent pieces in this manner are exhibited here with birds and fish moving across curved surfaces of color and crackled texture.
During my sabbatical last fall and winter, I chose to explore forms in clay that had different surfaces than my Raku pots. Concentrating on the shapes specifically (without imagery on the surface) and either carving and distorting or paddling and altering the wheel thrown forms I attempted to create a more active and distinctly different vessel shape that those of my earlier work. My inspiration for these pieces derived from three different sources—wine jars, jugs and round shapes.
I looked at old wine jars/serving vessels during a trip to Italy a few summers ago and I am still drawing ideas from that time. Etruscan and Early Roman pots initiated an investigation and play with variations on these forms as a theme. Pouring shapes turned into bottle forms and basket forms in my drawings and became more playful as my process progressed (or digressed). Each piece suggested something else and therefore acted as a Muse—an inspiration to later work.
In pondering traditions of serving vessels, I looked back at early Minoan pots--specifically Kamares Ware Jugs which I always think of as a shape of pot related to other jug styles -- including more recent pots like Early American whiskey and molasses jugs. The pot exhibited here is a tribute to the inspiration and shear beauty of those pots made in Crete in 2000 B.C.
Many of the forms I have enjoyed making for years are large round pots—pieces whose lineage for me comes from Japanese and Korean storage jars. These shapes have a surface that speaks of a potential canvas—an are forms that beg for color while offering themselves to mark making and distortion. My Raku pots are decorated with shapes and images, utilizing color and texture, that are somewhat flat and graphic compared to the Big Round forms exhibited here. Intentional marks, scraffito and an emphasis on the soft nature of wet clay allow these pots to interact with the stoneware glaze and thus create a subtle dialogue between form and surface.
While there is a wide variety of work in this exhibition that may seem somewhat disjointed, there was a flow to the development of each group of pots represented here. One shape or style led to another, one glazed surface suggested other color and textural change, and manipulated and altered work was inspired by the muse in pots made earlier.

March 2004