The work of Canadian artist Aaron Nelson is in my mind one of the most important social commentaries happening in ceramics today. Rather than moaning that the smart phone pulls us out of our bodies, he notes the complex dexterity needed to operate a touch screen and finds that we may be growing closer to our bodies through technology. As a way of considering this complex notion he pairs thrown vessels with iPod’s to create digital features on the pieces, or in another piece he runs electrical current through luster glazes to power a radio. The work is engaging, inventive and incredibly relevant to the world we live in today.
Here is a brief video of work from his latest show
and a link to his website, which is one of the best artists sites I have seen.
One of the most engaging pieces of Nelson’s work is his development of a very low firing soft paste porcelain. The idea behind it was to drop the firing temp on his process to reduce the carbon footprint of the work. I love it because it shows a clear commitment to his values and showcases his ceramic skills to develop such a thing. It give the work a sense of completion, as if all the elements have been considered and placed carefully.
this work is encouraging to me personally, as the digital aspect of my work becomes so consuming and I feel pushed further and further from the craft of the work I do. Aaron Nelson is clearly demonstrating that pursuit of both is not only possible, but when done well, becomes an engaging new medium, comprising elements of both but making something all together new.