Jesse Wine responded to the idea of showing his work alongside that of Ettore Sottsass by creating nine new works made specifically for Take Care. While Wine has made dozens of copies of works by master potters and ceramic artists (most recently at his solo exhibition ‘Young man red’ at Gateshead’s BALTIC), and the idea of re-imagining ceramics made by other artists has been an important part of his work to date, in this case he chose to display three series that represents the latest evolution of his personal style.
Wine’s approach is chance driven as his firing processes add shapes, forms and colours that are often not entirely predetermined. Surfaces seem to peel, glazes layer uncontentedly over others, underglazes cover overglazes in habitual reversals of procedure. Rather than some flip attitude, or valorisation of the amateurish or unskilled, this is a considered response to the scientific business of shaping, glazing and firing clay. The vessels, or pots, are objects that Wine makes compulsively alongside other works – they are often fashioned of recycled or hard-to-use clay, which accounts for their lubberly, quite homely, appearance. Everything remains, to some degree, an experiment.
Works in each of the three series, named after bathroom fitting companies, are distinguished by their form and finish. The three vessels grouped under Ideal Standard feature a seemingly seeping, dense, volcanic glaze that blistered under the heat of the firing process. The three ceramics called Armitage Shanks are a variation of Ideal Standard, as they hold another, wheel-thrown vessel within them. The last series, Duravit, resembles wounded torsos or crumpled lungs, incised with everyday doodles and scratch marks.
When Wine talks about making a work, he also acknowledges how the medium reflects the maker: “The really amazing thing about clay is that it picks up your every move. If you come into contact with the material in any way it will show back to you what you have done. In this way clay has an existential effect on the person working with it.” However, his works nearly always contain an autobiographical reference that often remains unknown to the viewer.