Mike Gesiakowski is a ceramic artist taking on big ideas through pottery. His work explores passing time and its relationship to the moment that we as individuals exist on Earth. Using literal and metaphorical symbols, Gesiakowski creates a more poignant perception of the human experience. His work questions perfection, function, existence, and beauty related to both aesthetics and spirituality.
Gesiakowski views degrading architecture as a metaphor for our individual memories and how these decay over the course of a lifetime. Crumbling structures symbolically expose the inherent flaw in humans – our own rapid degradation. But there is a beauty in the imperfect and old, even in death, that can not be ignored. The Japanese’s word for this type of beauty-in-imperfection is wabi-sabi and this is the idea that Gesiakowski’s work ultimately conjures.
“… I investigate the process of physical and cognitive degradation by using the construct of architecture to question our perceptions of memory and our concept of place.”
It’s easy to live inside my head and imagine that time began when I was born and will end when I’m gone. To believe that is somehow less work than acknowledging history…a millennial trait, I suppose. Gesiakowski’s work is a reminder of time – the historical references in glaze and pattern, the elemental raw-earth surface recycled over centuries, the viscous running glaze stopped mid-drip, the immediate consciousness of sipping coffee, and the infinite permanence of ceramic.
Gesiakowski’s pots live simultaneously in the past, present and future.
Mike Gesiakowski received his BFA from Northern Illinois University and his Masters of Fine Art from Southern Illinois University. Currently, he lives and works in Edwardsville, Illinois. You can follow Gesiakowski on Instagram here and you can see some of his new work in the 2016 benefit auction for the Archie Bray Foundation.