- i. Section addresses one who will not be reading the whole paper.
- i. highlights the purpose of the paper
- ii. Thesis statement concerning the role of Gary Perry son
- i. life of Gary Perryson and work, his various works and the various expressions that he makes that are connected to the experiences of his life
- ii. Gary’s view on the issue at hand, his support for the expressive aspect of ceramics in addition to the utilitarian and aesthetic perspective
- iii. History of ceramics in context of both argument and perspectives, how different cultures and artists have viewed ceramics
- iv. arguments regarding the arts and crafts nature of ceramics
- v. Gary’s contribution to the arguments
- i. Gary’s contribution to thesis reviewed
- ii. likely future of the issue addressed in the paper
- Contains the highlights of the whole paper regarding the issue at hand in regards to ceramics
There has been much discussion on the issue of whether there is a correlation between fine arts and the aspect of craft in ceramics. Of course, the issue is time bond, in that it is established that there has been a connection in the past, illustrated by symbolisms that are found in the ancient Greek pots. The actual question that the current paper seeks to address is whether in the contemporary state of the ceramic art, the connection still exists. Thus, an attempt is made to establish the historic perspectives of the ceramic making whether there was a balanced integration of both fine art and crafts. This is done to assist in illuminating into the present relationship by setting an appropriate example of what an integration of the two aspects in ceramics should be like. There various explanations that are given for the drift towards the ceramics making drifting to be more utilitarian oriented as opposed to other forms of art like sculpture and painting that have taken the fine art path. Intellectualism is seen as an important contributor to the difference. More writings that are intellectual seek to analyze the fine art aspects. In the progression of reiterating, that ceramics is both an integration of the fine art and crafts in the modern times, examples of such relationships and unifications are given. One that is particularly striking is the use of ceramics in romance a feat that is seen in sex pots where condom holders are made in a ceramic sense. The reasons for this are established for instance that fact that the material is plentiful and not expensive. Another important and influential factor is the nature of freedom of expression and speech that has allowed more bold expressions in ceramics such as anti-racial statements.
There has been much discussion pertaining to the issue of whether there is a correlation between fine arts and the aspect of craft in ceramics. The actual question that the current paper seeks to address is whether in the contemporary state of the ceramic art, the connection still exists. Thus, an attempt is made to establish the historic perspectives of the ceramic making whether there was a balanced integration of both fine art and crafts. This is done to assist in illuminating into the present relationship by setting an appropriate example of what an integration of the two aspects in ceramics should be like. One of the fundamental questions for modern ceramics artists has been whether ceramics is a craft or a fine art medium. Contemporary artist Grayson Perry has revolutionized that question by making functional pots that simultaneously deal with controversial subject matter and social commentary.
Ceramics role: Gary’s life and work
Born in the year 1960, he grew up in a rather dramatic family set up that was to influence his artworks later in life. He witnessed the breaking up of his family as his father moved away due the mother’s infidelity. Later on, he lived with his abusive stepfather and this led him to isolating into a fantasy life that propelled ideas of artwork in him. He is married with one wife and a daughter. He considers himself a transvestite in which he portrays in his works as explicit images of his sexual-mental escapades. He also views pottery as the best way to communicate his ideas on the society and gender having established that he can transform a conventionally innocent pot, have meaning. In his case, he has expressed two things that first, he is a transvestite and that he had an unhappy childhood. His works depict a struggle to regain a childhood that he lost.
In the ceramics world, there various explanations that are given for the drift towards the ceramics making drifting to be more utilitarian oriented as opposed to other forms of art like sculpture and painting that have taken the fine art path. Intellectualism is seen as an important contributor to the difference as there are additional intellectual writings that seek to analyze the fine art aspects. In the progression of reiterating, that ceramics is both an integration of the fine art and crafts in the modern times, examples of such relationships and unifications are given. One that is particularly striking is the use of ceramics in romance a feat that is seen in sexpots where condom holders are made in a ceramic sense. In Gary’s case, there is a lot of sexual symbolism that is meant to reflect his own ideals on sexualism. The reasons for this are established for instance that fact that the material is plentiful and not expensive. Another important and influential factor is the nature of freedom of expression and speech that has allowed more bold expressions in ceramics such as anti-racial statements.
Gary insists that the ideology of craft tradition being of no use in expressing symbolism is not viable. He disagrees with those that put ceramics as either decorative or utilitarian. He agrees that in the modern times, Crafts are seen to posses a more valuable fine art element since they involve the interaction of the maker and practitioners directly with the material as opposed to commercial fine art production. His works are bent towards gender conflicts and sexual conducts. His dramatic upbringing influences his artwork where by he models the family roles that were portrayed in his childhood. There instances he brings this out for example in his work Using My Fmily. There are incidents where he addresses the issue child abuse in the artwork of We have found the body of your child. Perhaps the most controversial of his artwork are that explicit sexual imageries that are shown in most of his works that critics describe as obscene. In other works like over the rainbow, he depicts his transvestite nature by bringing out his alter-ego girl called Claire. There are time he ridicules the society’s pattern of living like in boring cool people where he addresses the art world and the dressing of society. This brings out the analysis of ceramics in contrast to other art forms in integrating both dimensions of fine art and craft. The mentioned art forms are painting and sculptures where it can be seen that the two later art forms have evolved into almost a pure fine art dimension where as the art of ceramics is older. This as mentioned is due to the culture that is involved in the aesthetic evaluation placing greater value and price to such art forms in contrast to functional art forms like ceramics.
In distinguishing the aspects of fine art from those of craft in ceramics, an artist would be viewed to prefer craft in a modern world that can make everything (almost) in a faster and cheaper way due to the personal involvement. This means that fine arts should not be the emphasis for it would then mean that the manufacture and making of ceramics could move from the potter’s hands to machines that obviously can be programmed to do better aesthetic jobs. The importance of craft sets in where there is personal involvement with the material. As in the case of Gary, he is able to bring out his past and share the ideologies that he holds in life The result is that another difference between the two aspects arises where there is a threat of losing the other incase an emphasis is laid on the other. Fine art does not seem to have a strict consideration on the nature of the material that is to be used. Another distinction between the two that arises is the valuing in terms of market value. Objects from the craft view are valued less than those viewed from the fine art perspective are. An integration of both in makes the stake in terms of value higher.
Is ceramics a form of fine art or that just craft or a representation of both is a question that has long remained pending. If ceramics were a form of fine art, it would imply that its primary purpose would be beauty or aesthetics. In this perspective there is no real use of the ceramic objects rather they are just present to stimulate emotions in the people of audience. Gary notes that his sexual stimulations were able to find place of expression in ceramics in a way that was modest but loud. On the other hand, if the ceramics were just representations of art, there would be an emphasis on the real use of the object, and a drift from the abstractness associated with aesthetics. However, as in the case of Graysin Perry who made a clay pot that has social messages and simultaneously can be used for the functions of a pot ceramics can be both art and craft.
Apart from Gary Perryson, the modern ceramics world has witnessed a n integration of both for example in the united stated ceramics makers such as Peter Voulkos, John Mason, James Melchert and Henry Takemotk have in the recent past incorporated symbolism and expressionism in their ceramic works. It may surprise many that ceramics has really been revolutionalized to deliver messages of conquest by the human race presently. A good example are the ceramics that make space ships because of the ability of ceramics to withstand high frictional heat better than metals and that is why it is said that one goes to the moon in a glazed pot. Over the years, there have been attempts to change the functionalism that is associated with convectional ceramics.
Traditional ceramics is arguably only utilitarian oriented. In the 1960’s there were artist who attempted to integrate both the expressionalism and the functionalism that can be attained in ceramics. However, due to the lack of appraisal that was deserved these artists set off to engage more in the convectional construction of primary ceramic structures and their designs. In the historical times, there were cultures that would insist on one perspective on the expense of the other for example the Greeks had their vases praised for the painted surfaces that were expressive and symbolic. The functions of the pots were usually ignored. These are proved by the paintings that usually showed the painted surfaces of the pots while ignoring the inside of the pot. In addition, there is what the critic’s term as the lightness or the heaviness of the product. This is of particular importance especially in gauging the priority of the work in that those that were inclined to the aesthetic perspective would have the works rather lighter.
Elevation of ceramics to integrate both the fine art aspect and the craft perspectives cannot be mentioned without looking at the modern expressions in political and social grounds that the artists were living in. The ceramics, besides serving a basic function, are used as mirror, memory and testament of the period. This is fortune taking in consideration that ceramics is a history preservative an a example being the that it is the only mode of art that the modern age has a an un broken series that it can interpret the historic times. For instance, it is quite elaborate from ancient ceramic works the religious life of the ancient people.
In context of social critic as in the case of Morris and Wilmore Columbian pottery of 1895, where a pitchers were made that had the portrayal of the then president of the United States likened to the imperialist Napoleon, there are flaccid attempts to convey a social message. This has continued to be the case as the humanity moves forward in the time scale. The ceramics have evolved to be a reflection of the times. What has favored this is the inexpensiveness and the plentiful-ness of clay that even in times of social and political unrest it is possible to express one’s self. It is worth noting that there different approaches in the use of ceramics to convey a social message. There are those artists who will prefer to act on the material whether in the form of poking as if or tearing it whereas there are those that will paint or just work on the finished surface.
This ideally means that there has been more focus in terms of study on the aesthetic part of the paintings and the sculptures. The ceramic world was more attached to the functionality part until of late as earlier stated. Thus, generally there have been more writings on the fine art aspects of paintings and sculptures than that of ceramics. On the contemporary, there is high value for ceramics when there is integration of the art and the craft aspects in that ceramics that have an aesthetic trait are valued more highly. For instance, Staite Murray has applied the concept of ceramics in the formation of abstract sculpture where there is portrayal of the artist nature of ceramics in forma of a fine art pot.
Gary uses traditional methods such as coiling even though there are arguments about the nature of art he makes given the higher level of skill. From his personal view, he integrates fine art, utilitarian and thirdly expressionalism. Perhaps the reason why there has been an emphasis on the craft form of ceramics while in the past has been the inability to see the end from the beginning in ceramic making. All these coupled with the fact that all art is meant to occupy a place in the real world makes it challenging the artist to concentrate on the fine art bit but rather on the functionality.however, Gary has overcome these to integrate all prospects of ceramics whether fine art or utilitarian with expressionalism.
Arnold, Dean E. Ceramic theory and cultural process, Cambridge: Cambridge U.P., 1985.
In this book, the author examines the various roles of ceramics in the different cultures that have existed in human history. There is depiction of separate the separate roles that ceramics have played in different cultures and the methods that have been used in making them.
Astragal, “The Price of a Perry.” The Architect’s Journal. 30 October 2009 from http://www.yale.edu/bass/writing/sources/kinds/citeinternet/jounals.html. In this article the author looked at the differences that exist in the pricing of the
Evans P, “Art Pottery of the United States”- 1989, Feingold & Lewis Pub. Corp.
The author takes a dip into the history of the United States and examines the various relationships that have existed between the people and ceramics. He examines the uses of ceramics in the various ages especially in expressing the society’s views.
Greenhalgh, Paul. The persistence of craft: the applied arts today, London: A & C Black; New Brunswick, N. J.: Rutgers University Press, 2003.
This book seeks to explain the definition of crafts and their roles in changing the society by symbolism. There has been the description of the processes that ceramics has gone through in terms of definition and value to be in the state it is today.
Smith, “Rookwood Pottery as Fine Art.” Journal of Art History. 2006.
There is the depiction of the ceramic type that is originally expressive and utilitarian turning into a more expressive and symbolic form.
Mathieu, Paul. Sexpots: eroticism in ceramics, New Brunswick, NJ Rutgers Univ. Press 2003. The author investigates the use of ceramics in erotic symbolism through the various ages and civilizations of the human race.
Ross, Stephen David. A theory of art: inexhaustibility by contrast, Albany State Univ. of New York Pr. 1982.
The basic characteristics and distinguishing features of art forms and perspectives are given in this book
Risatti, Howard. A theory of craft: function and aesthetic expression, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.
The author in a direct attempt to shed more light on the argument between the aesthetic function of art and the utilitarian function examines the factors that lead to an art inclined to one perspective.
Schwartz, Judith S. Confrontational ceramics: the artist as social critic, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008.
In a journey through history and modernity, the author gives various examples of how the ceramics industry and art has been used to address issue that have risen in the society. The artists that have been involved are also mentioned and the motivational factors that were behind their works.
 Paul Greenhalgh. The persistence of craft: the applied arts today, (London: A & C Black; New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2003)
 Judith S. Schwartz, Confrontational ceramics: the artist as social critic, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008)
 Stephen David Ross. A theory of art: inexhaustibility by contrast, (Albany State Univ. of New York Pr. 1982)
 Howard Risatti. A theory of craft: function and aesthetic expression, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007)
 Howard Risatti. A theory of craft: function and aesthetic expression, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007
 Mathieu, Paul. Sexpots: eroticism in ceramics, New Brunswick, NJ Rutgers Univ. Press 2003
 Greenhalgh, Paul. The persistence of craft: the applied arts today, London: A & C Black; New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2003
 Astragal, “The Price of a Perry.” The Architect’s Journal. 30 October 2009 from http://www.yale.edu/bass/writing/sources/kinds/citeinternet/jounals.html
 Smith, “Rookwood Pottery as Fine Art.” Journal of Art History. 2006