A twenty-first century hybridization of studio potter and conceptual artist, Derek Wilson focuses on using the potters wheel as a tool to produce abstract sculptural forms. Inviting movement in the observer, the work asks them to contemplate the significance of subtle tonalities in surface quality and the distribution of light and shadow.
Questioning functionality, Wilson uses the vessel as a means of artistic expression by exploring free and geometric abstraction. Habitually, the importance of object placement is foremost with his work and a further dimensionality lies within how it is viewed. Inviting movement in the observer, the work asks them to contemplate the significance of subtle tonalities in surface quality and the distribution of light and shadow. The process of dis-assembling elements associated with archetypal vessels that are reconstructed into complex abstract structures is at the core of Wilson’s practice. Wilson’s current body of work is a natural progression and enquiry into new variations, with leaning and balanced elements that further abstract the vessel. The exploration of the ceramic surface has also evolved: distorting sections by applying darker or lighter areas of engobe. Glazed elements have also been added to the exterior creating a dialogue between the interior and exterior spaces. A considered and intuitive approach allows Wilson to create objects that have a sculptural and metaphorical resonance, using this process allows him to question the concept of the vessel. An unapologetic thrower, Wilson consistently challenges his discipline. Focusing on his approach to making, he combines his minimal aesthetic with craftmanship, a wealth of material knowledge and a propensity to propel modern ceramics through reinterpretation of its form. A search for simplicity of form draws inspiration through a diverse range of sources, including mid-century painters, the modernist movement, British and Russian constructivism and the history of the ceramic industry in Europe and Asia. Wilson works from his studio in Belfast, regularly lectures and runs workshops. He continues to produce a limited amount of functional ware—having recently created a tableware line for Chloe’s flagship stores globally— but his main focus is his sculptual work. This is exhibited extensively at an international level, recently having a solo exhibition in Tokyo, and his works are held in a range of public and private collections, including a recent acquisition by the Ulster Museum.