Jim Gottuso

I am very interested in the complete cycle of creating clay objects. Working on the wheel has provided a framework, grounded in functionality, which allows creativity to flourish. Functional demands inform aesthetics and vice versa creating an evolution that hopefully moves forward to better work. Imperfections that occur while aspiring to perfection are exciting and learning to let them be has been a challenge. Not setting out with strict limitations always allows some wiggle room to let something become something else. This makes each object’s creation different and the immense frontier of possibilities provides exhilaration. Wondering about the unknown results in the coming years of trial and error, a period that all potters eventually get under their belts, appeals to a sense of anticipation about the promise of the future.

I’ve written statements about my work over the years and as I’ve matured I’ve come to look at what I do in the broader context of what all artists, craftspeople, writers, musicians, etc. do. After attempting to distill this all down to a somewhat simply explanation and thereby jettison the inevitable “artspeak jibberish”, what I’m left with is this:  Making things (and living life) is essentially a series of decisions, each one contingent on the previous. Therefore any evidence of those moments of decision (or the concealment of said moments) represents the object’s evolution from idea to its final state. Consequently, the work done on the objects themselves can be viewed as a metaphor for our existence. In the microcosm (my work), the calligraphic brushwork includes obvious examples of my decisions represented by each brushstroke’s change of direction. I try to make these quickly so that the results are almost a presentation of many decisions skirting the boundaries of my subconscious.

Sculpture was the area of fine art I pursued in graduate school and this nonfunctional 3D experience provides a subconscious foundation to decide whether a form satisfies my internal aesthetic or not and allows me to trust decisions made on the wheel without dwelling on them overtly. The decorative motifs and the evolution of said motifs are inspired by admiring natural beauty as well as the gamut of manmade visual vocabularies. There is a certainty of action that is apparent with many painters, sculptors, calligraphers etc. in their brushstrokes or marks in clay that is evidence of a wealth of experience I always respond to and I aspire to have that quality show up in my own work.

For many years I've been drawn to certain drawing, painting and calligraphic styles and usually cite artists like Cy Twombly and Mark Tobey as influences along with my perception/interpretation of Jung's automatic writing but after many years of not really caring about the origins of influence, I've come to believe that I've always just been in love with what happens when a brush, pen or pencil makes contact with another surface and using shellac as a resist on dried, unfired clay allows the surface to be etched without losing the immediacy and spontaneity of such brushwork.