PERRY HAAS

Interrogative Nature

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I start with tradition; then I question its limits. Why can’t wood-fired ceramics be white? Why can’t they explore mixed media? Why are they limited to muted color palettes? Why can’t they stand out, draw focus?

 

Like most ceramic artists, I find joy in the deep tradition of ceramics. I love listening to the voices of the past, of creating vessels that carry history as functionally as they do water, but I also feel art should always be restless, live on the edge of tradition, shepherd tradition into the current moment and conversation.

The traditional color palette of wood fired ceramics is dark, typically on stoneware; but I’m interested in bringing porcelain into the kiln to explore brightness and contrast. Porcelain surfaces have the potential of soft pastel colors, warm oranges and yellows, blues--slow sky-color changes.

 

I use questions that the wood fire process inspires for more experimental methods. I use resin to create ash flow. I use concrete to mimic clay. I ask, can a soft surface mimic a rough surface in the kiln? Can a soft edge can become sharp? Can a crack become a positive? I question how surfaces and forms speak to each other. Does the surface need to be a simple or gestural form? How do surfaces create conflict or synergy?  

 

I want my work to separate itself, to be grounded in tradition, but to test the creative limits of tradition, to be always restless in its exploration of possibility. I don’t just want to quote ancient sources, I want to bring tradition into the current conversation. 

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