John Oles Artworks

As a maker of objects, I believe that truth and insight into our own human nature can be revealed to us through the practice and process of creating with our hands. I believe in the power of the handmade object to communicate with people, on a subconscious level, the fragility and intimacy of the temporal moment.

The feeling of a warm cup of coffee in your hands on a cold morning, the first sight of fresh bird tracks in the newly fallen snow, touching the creased and weathered skin stretched smooth and taught around aged cheekbones, all of these serve as reminders of our own fleeting mortality and invite our reflection upon the human condition. It is with this in mind that the work I make speaks to the act of embracing the moment.

In my vessels and functional forms, I honor the tradition and familiarity of the domestic object, with its ability to enrich our lives through daily use, as a vehicle for communicating content. I approach the making of each pot as an individual sculptural object, often with reference to landscape or the human figure. I want the walls of these vessels to be like that of a membrane, inflated, stretching thin, just barely able to contain the space within it. And on that skin is a mark. A finger swipe, a pinch, push- out, a gesture instantly records history, intent and expression onto the surface, while simultaneously building a tension with the interior volume.

My sculptural compositions address many of the same formal elements of balance, volume and tension found in my pots. These contemplative objects reference the relationship of the body to landscape, both real and artificial, to create an environment for introspection. The intimate scale of these pieces and invite you to explore a moment of calm isolation, one that is not entirely identifiable yet subconsciously familiar.