John Bauer is one of those individuals for whom ceramics is a mere vehicle for the kaleidoscope of ideas he exhales everyday. He is strangely focused on a bizarre and very secretive brand of technical skill in ceramics; although this focus on technical anomalies of clay, glass and heat, does not distract one iota from the heart of his pieces. His work exudes emotion. Bauer has evolved from sculpture to very thin translucent bowls: embellished, in both relief and scrafico. Bauer's experiments with glass and clay are notable in this brief window of this ceramic artist's evolution: glass filled bowls which, when held up to the light reveal their secrets.
John explains that, by virtue of his endless curiosity and experimentation, hundreds and thousands of one-of-a-kind pieces will continue to flow from his head to the kiln. "I love the creativity of cracking the science of something". The trick to making beautiful ceramics, he says, is knowing what to emphasize and what to leave be.
Affectionately known by his friends as His Holiness the Doily Lama, John is well known for his ceramic work that recreates doily patterns at larger and smaller scales. The proud owner of over 1000 doilies, John hopes his work will represent the doily to future generations. He believes the intricate mats will become obsolete, noting that he preserves them in porcelain so other people can regenerate them in years to come. 1
Using an ancient technique of the Sunga Dynasty, John is also the only person in the world that has perfected the art of making delicate and intricate moulds that reflect the ceramics made in about 997 AD for a brief 200 years. Although archeologists perform excavations each year to try to learn more about this magnificent art form, John has found a way to apply the technique. He says it's a complex process that takes a long time to learn, and that one day perhaps he'll share the secret behind the signature pieces... 2
Another of John's signature themes is the depiction of angels and mythical beings. "This large element of my work arose in my wanting to draw love into my life, and also to come to understand how I understand love," John explains.
John Bauer's work has been shown at the Castle Gallery and Modern Artist's Gallery in Reading (United Kingdom). He has sold his wares to the Anthropology Store in the USA and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. He has been included in the Smithsonian's catalogue on contemporary craft and his work has been collected by the William Humphrey Museum in Kimberley and added to the South African National Collection.
1,2: Text - Remy Raitt