Jean-Nicolas GERARD' studio and work


"Without any doubt, terre vernissée (slipware) is a traditional technique.
I love its ability to bring joy into everyday life, on the kitchen table as well as in the garden.This is why I do accept and use this tradition in my work as a potter.
But I am also questioning this tradition. Today, Terre vernissée is a living technique, bringing me emotions as intense as those that I get from contemporary painting or Asian ceramics which nurture me."

To see Jean-Nicolas Gérard's ceramics, visit photo album's pots or photo album's expositions.
The studio is opened daily in the spring and in the summer... and almost everyday during the rest of the year. But it is best to call the following number before coming + 33 (0)4 92 74 94 26.

A few words about Jean-Nicolas Gérard.
Jean-Nicolas was born in Brazzaville (Congo) in 1954. He returned to France in 1961. Since then, he has lived in the South of France (Grasse, Marseille, Plateau de Valensole).
He started studying ceramics in 1978 and was Jean Biagini's student at Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Aix-en-Provence. He also trained with Claire Bogino.
He briefly worked with stoneware before creating his first slipware studio (wood kiln). Since 1983, his studio has been situated Valensole, right in the village.
His work has now gained international acclaim. He is regularly invited internationally for workshops or residencies (U.S.A., Australia, China, Japan…).

For more information, "L'atelier de Jean-Nicolas Gérard", available at the workshop and in Argile-Editions. Download here a few pages.

TRAVELS : see photo album's travel
1990 : back to Africa visiting the women potters in Burkina Faso.
2001 : visiting artist at the Oregon College of Arts and Craft (Portland, USA) ; exhibition at Contemporary Crafts Gallery.
2002 : visiting artist in Japan
2005 : visiting artist in China (Ceramics museum in Fuping)
2006 : visiting artist at the Archie Bray Foundation (Montana, USA)
2007 : Australia
2009 : Korea, Wales
2010 : artiste en résidence Sanbao (Jingdezhen, Chine)

2012 : Galerie Le Rond dans l'Eau (Biarritz)

2009 : Galerie Empeintes (Aydat, France), Galerie Handwerk (Munich), Galerie du Don (Montsalvy, France), Galerie Metzger (Johannesburg, Allemagne), Bernard Leach Pottery (St Ives, Angleterre)
2010 : Galerie Genevière Godar (Lille), SOFA (New-York), Yingge Ceramics Museum (Taïwan)
2011 : Galerie de l'Ancienne Poste, Toucy (Yonne) ; Musée des Beaux-Arts, La Chaux de Fonds (Suisse) ; Musée de Sèvres

About Jean-Nicolas Gerard
Jean-Nicolas Gerard calls himself a potter. The many fine domestic ware (dishes, teapots, salad bowls, jars…) on which he works, refer and justify his art. So, there are few formal differences between his usual slipware pieces and the ones he is exhibiting now.
When exhibiting, he changes the scale of his pieces so as to assert his usual themes in a more impressive dimension, while remaining faithful to his practice. A personal abstract writing nourishes his whole production. The space on a dish works as a sheet on which he can work. This comparison leads to the pictorial field.
American painting seems to interest him a lot and he eagerly quotes Sam Francis. For my part, I noticed a painting by David Budd called Ft. Summer, dated 1960, which could also testify for some of his approaches. More influences frame his artistic background : Matisse's collages as well as the famous paintings on old writings by Pierre Alechinsky. Jean Nicolas Gerard gathers enough pieces to decorate them serially so as to wear out his gesture with the brush and to acquire some automatism. So is summoned unconscious, permitting the repetition required to enable creation.
He juggles with influences while creating his own vocabulary. A knife or a sharp instrument help him draw sgraffito lines directly on and inside the clay. Arabesques, lines, scratches, swirls, volutes, incisions participate in his words. In the plates, the rims often play the part of an integrated frame.
His cylinders are slim though bulging as a result of a mastered instinctive work. Their specific treatment is remarkable, the central part being glazed while the top and bottom are left unglazed. The pictorial surface goes all round the piece melting with the essence of the clay. Stout round dishes show the same characteristics, their rims remaining undecorated. These contrasting surfaces and materials make up varied and greedy dynamics.
The sensitivity which prevails in the bigger and in the smaller pieces of Jean Nicolas Gerard is fully alike. Only the scale differs.

Catalogue of the exhibition : "10 Artistes et la terre", Fréjus, May 1998
Article written by Christian SKIMAO

Jean-Nicolas, le potier
L'atelier de Jean-Nicolas Gérard
L'entrée de l'atelier de Jean-Nicolas Gérard

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