John Oles started his ceramics career with a BFA from University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, also earning his state teaching certification for K-12. While there, he studied under Chris Gustin, whose forms are an obvious and vast influence on Oles’ work. He creates both functional and sculptural pieces that he first throws on the wheel and then alters in a way that is reminiscent of Gustin and is reflected in my own work as well.
Oles’ earlier work speaks to me and has had a greater influence on me than his current work. His new work is very angular and rough. In grad school, his forms were bulbous, stacked undulations which flowed very naturally with intuitive indentations and expansions in the surface. His pieces are finished with a very simple glaze, explaining that he “enjoys the white/Celadon glazes because they complement and don’t compete with food that’s being served”. The soft finish allows the viewer to concentrate on the form itself rather than being distracted by surface decoration.
While my work is heavier on surface elements, the bubbly forms that Oles creates inspire me to achieve the same flow and delicacy.