John Pollex’s highly distinctive brightly coloured ceramics have won him a legion of fans and collectors throughout the UK and internationally. He studied pottery at Sir John Cass’s School of Art and then served as a technician on the influential Harrow Ceramics Course before working with Bryan Newman and Colin Pearson.
Since 1971 he has lived and worked in Plymouth, his early work at this time was the development of traditional English slipware methods, mostly slip trailing and Sgraffito but in the mid 1980s he changed creative direction. During a trip to London in 1985 he saw an exhibition of Sir Howard Hodgkin’s paintings and was immediately struck by his use of colour and mark making. On his return to Plymouth Pollex explored the work of other painters whose work was predominately about the use of colour, such as Robert Natkin, Hans Hofmann, and David Hockney and out of this developed a range of coloured slips and started to play.
His work became more painterly and abstract, pots now becoming blank canvases; his interest in Zen calligraphy and the use of the Zen brush directed him to his present spontaneous way of working, painting a pot rather than decorating one. In early 2020, Pollex embarked on another change: brushing the glaze mostly off the outside of pots leaving the occasional splash of glaze here and there. The unglazed colours and brushstrokes are now are far more subtle and defined than under a glaze covering.
We’re delighted to be showing this new collection work at the Byre Gallery.
Earthenware vessel decorated in coloured slips.