John Parker’s new works sit on a monochromatic spectrum that ranges from dark charcoal to chalky white. The absence of additional colour allows the forms and finishes of the vessels to take centre stage. A number of the pieces stand over a foot high, emphasising their performance as sculptural objects in addition to their practical capacity as vessels. As well as physically displacing / occupying / enclosing space, the ceramics play with the visual representation and materialisation of negative and positive forms. Glossy, fluid glazes cling to the ridges, curves and angles of some vessels; they shoot out reflections and seem to take up more room than the matte works which are still and self-contained.
Grouped together, similarities of pattern and form combine with the astonishing consistency of Parker’s technique to underscore the relationship of each of his vessels to another. Although each work is a discrete object: it exists in reference to those made before and those made after its creation. Variations surface and disappear; early forms return in new guises and new forms reveal older roots. Parker’s slender-necked bottles have a lineage that reaches back thousands of years; the sharp, ridged angles and semi-cylindrical shapes seen in many of the vessels recall utilitarian industrial ceramics.
The flawless simplicity of John Parker’s works are the result of decades of making and each unique, hand-thrown piece bears the unmistakeable imprint of thousands of hours at the wheel and the kiln. These are ceramics distilled to their essentials, requiring neither more nor less.