Similar to the title of his project Us and This, in our brief correspondences Jeremy has combined words like “Ikea” and “Zen,” “gaze” and “renew,” “concept and function” in a fashion that stood out as characteristic of his work. Does the proximity of the words put them in juxtaposition or are they tautological? “Ikea” evokes the economic sacrifice of production quality and craftsmanship to mass consumption and distribution. “Zen” invokes wabi sabi, a spiritual unlearning of crafts qualifications – design’s contradictions of preciousness and structural integrity – in exchange for the sentimentality of an object’s wear.
With Us and This Jeremy creates an environment “so rich with abstract formalism and conceptual function that after experiencing the simulacra, the world outside of the space is observed with a renewed curious gaze.” I’ve understood conceptual function to mean that his sculptures embody or demonstrate concepts, but as pottery they also contain them, support them. In Hegemonics for example an industrially fabricated metal rod is housed by two ceramic pieces. Simultaneously establishing relationships between support structures, the wall/the floor, readymade/fabrication, this hybrid both leans and contains a lean. It is a lean! Zen indeed. Hans Haacke’s Condensation Cube, similarly embodying a physical process, comes to mind.
Unentitled, is a ceramic staircase, two steps to be exact, with black and white glazing. It is a rigid but naïve stairway, an abject, melting two-step to nowhere. A stairway that under no conditions I particularly want to walk on, but as sculpture it basks in its own psychedelic nature. Unentitled is alive in its crookedness and its calculated but organic edges. Unentitled is present, but unassertive.
In a way the project is a matter of Jeremy as a potter having his cake and eating it too, creating pottery outside of it’s conventional use-value, but isn’t it equally trivializing of ceramics when put in the context of minimalism? They function for us as different from their “conceptual function.” As a sort of ontological funambulist Jeremy draws attention to the work by walking a fine line between high and low culture, commodity and finish fetishes. By cannibalizing smooth, industrial finishes within his lumpy, glossy, amorphous organs (and vice-versa) Sims acknowledges the tenuous place of both industrial material and heavy-handed craft in contemporary art and design. These sculptures are charged with ambivalence towards these categories of fine arts.
Like a Zen koan, or a haiku, Jeremy’s art is riddled with paradox and redundancy. He makes novel the karmic (threads) between form, function and whatever. “Us” and “this” are deictic words, dependent on the context in which they are used; with no spoken context the two may as well collapse into each other. Or not! They will emanate from the corner of the room, from the wall - Us and This are everything.
- Max Guy