Marlene Jack focuses on one-of-a-kind or limited edition functional pieces for the dinner table. Her work is influenced by the long history of pottery traditions, from British and Japanese folk pottery to rustic medieval Italian pots and Middle Eastern slipware bowls, as well as by fabricated metal pouring pots such as oil cans, teapots and watering cans. She also looks to architecture as a reference for the stance a pot takes, and its underlying structural framework. Marlene’s work strives for simplicity and clarity, with a minimum of embellishment, often only a textured surface for glaze to play against. The majority of her work is initially thrown on the wheel and then stretched, altered, cut and assembled into new shapes with simple hand-constructed elements added as details
Marlene Jack at MudFire
Gallery group show Porcelain, August 2010
Marlene Jack Artist Bio
Marlene Jack has been teaching ceramics at the College of William & Mary's Department of Art and Art History since 1974, the same year she received her MFA in Ceramics from the University of Minnesota. In 1989 the National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) made her a Fellow of the Council. Her work has been shown extensively throughout the U.S. in galleries and museums. Over the years she has worked functionally and sculpturally, including mixed media books, life-size figurative sculptures, and smaller figurative works placed within architectural settings that addressed issues of luck, time, and fear. Most recently she has focused on functional work in porcelain designed for the domestic environment.
Marlene Jack Artist Statement
Many things influence my work including the long history of pottery traditions in different cultures, but I create with the contemporary table in mind. I particularly look to Japanese folk pottery, and designers from the Arts and Crafts Movement and Modernism periods. But I also enjoy looking at all kinds of objects, especially in antique flea markets, and when possible while traveling in other countries. Old fabricated metal pouring pots such as oilcans, teapots, and watering cans line up on shelves above windows in my studio. Architecture plays a role in the underlying structure of my forms, using a blend of angles and curves. I apply carved, impressed, or raised textural designs for glaze to play against, with an eye to textiles as a resource. And small details are used for emphasis or focus, seeking a subtle use of embellishment while aiming for quiet restraint. My pots are one way I define myself and connect with other people. They are about touch and use, the life of the kitchen and the pleasures of the table. They are also about the potential to enrich and awaken the routines and rhythms of our domestic environment and bring art, beauty, and intelligence to our daily lives.