I asked John the other day-
“What are you trying to say with your brush work, texture and white lines? What’s your ‘arty’ message?”
Everyone knows artists have something to say, right? As Aristotle says, art, and artists, complete what nature cannot finish. Yes, but what does that mean, really?
Ok, well, look at John’s work. Look at his brush work, it’s very active. That means he has captured the movement of his body, shoulder and arm, his hand, the gesture of his body’s expression with a brush, on the canvas that is the bare pot. He uses cheap brushes from the hardware store because they have more flaw in them, giving him another layer of texture. The older and more used up they are, the better. He may have a lot of the colored clay slip on the brush, or just a bit and then he puts the slip where he wants it, to impart a certain image or idea he has to you, the viewer, the user of that mug or cup or bowl. He completes the image he has. And most of the time, it’s inspired by the place.
Place. Here. Door County. Ellison Bay. Our home. Trees, lines, shadows, colors. Water, waves, glittering, slipping, disappearing. Merging. Activity. Life.
So, how is John, as an artist, ‘giving us knowledge of nature’s unrealized ends’? Here we move into spirituality, the hidden meanings in our hearts and souls. The undefinable. Which he is exploring and searching for and expressing in a metaphorical or even allegorical way; he’s opening the door, the window perhaps, for you to look in and perhaps answer these questions for yourself.
It becomes a collaboration. He starts the conversation and you enter into it when you pick up that piece that ‘speaks to you’ and you know, in your heart, that it’s yours to take home.
Maybe that’s what Aristotle meant. I’m not a philosopher. We can and do decide these ‘Important Ideas’ for ourselves. And that’s another purpose or function of art.