It is rare to walk into an exhibition loaded with ceramic artwork of the caliber of John W. Hopkins. It is a medium with potential limitations, all of which have been overcome by this consummate artist. Hopkins' work is bright and beautiful, varied in scale and utility. This work is beyond the worn-out styles of the 1970s with fresh coloration, texture and form.
Pieces are wheel-thrown, hand-formed and slab-constructed. The artist's raku, rust, glazes and finishes are perfection in quality. Hopkins' years of study, teaching and exhibiting are apparent in the Burbank Creative Arts Center exhibition currently showing. His work is established in collections all over the United States and represents a classic form in ceramic art.
Scale is an issue in ceramic art. The medium is malleable until it cures, so managing large-scale shapes without compromising form is truly an art. Hopkins shares many large, sculptural, plate-shaped wall pieces, assembled together with shards and swirled colorful clay appendages. Surfaces are tooled into texture, and color is rich and contrasting. There is much to know about the kiln firing process — complex finishes often requiring multiple firings.