Forming part of Mary Mary’s presentation for Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, the gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new ceramic works by London-based Jesse Wine, his first exhibition at the gallery and in Scotland.
Amidst an array of traditional materials and methods, Wine’s practice has a strong engagement with the process of making, which sees him pursue a line of chance and surprise in the final outcomes. The works are gestural with Wine pushing the boundaries of how clay, glazes and ceramic forms act when the maker relinquishes control of the end result.
This is true of the works included here, as Wine presents self portraits, pots, vessels and abstract structures which have collapsed or folded in on themselves or have glazes that have seeped and rested around crumbled holes and marks. In presenting the works in this way, Wine subverts the ways in which ceramics are often considered and displayed, with the outcome as much as a surprise to the artist as it is to the viewer. In doing so he seeks to prompt the viewer in a number of conflicting ways, eskewing easy explanation; something of which is also achieved through Wine’s titling of his works, which seek to add an additional layer, bringing something seemingly personal to the works and an element of the artist’s personality and experience.
Indeed personality is a pervading characteristic of the work, with the artist describing the pieces themselves as having a ‘human-ness’ and as ‘broken bits of life.’ There is an emotional connection that Wine has with his works, which is clear when viewing them; each portraying a unique character and energy.
Of particular focus in this exhibition is a group of ceramic heads which Wine displays as if museum artefacts on a series of plinths installed throughout the gallery. A central part of Wine’s work is in the installation and display and here Wine seeks to generate a sense of theatre in the gallery, directing the viewer in particular ways, offering up specific views and staggering the ‘total’ experience.
Within this installation, Wine has created two distinct atmospheres from room to room, as if travelling through the rooms of a museum. So that the first room becomes a combination of anthropological, vaguely functional and ceremonial pieces, on a group of multi-leveled plinths, so as to offer a delayed view of the works positioned upon them. We never see all the works as a whole and therefore, the viewer is given intimate and controlled encounters with each grouping.
In the second room however, works are installed on thinner plinths, almost as a line up. Taking inspiration from the Nagouchi Museum in Long Island City, Wine aims to offer the viewer an encounter with each work individually and thus have a direct conversation/relationship with each as they move through the room. Mirroring familiar human interactions, Wine is physically controlling and manipulating both the space and the viewer’s experience of the work.