John Parker is considered to be one of the leading studio potters in New Zealand. His long involvement with the New Zealand ceramics community formally began with his completion of a Master of Arts (ceramics) from the Royal College in London. He is one of the few local potters to hold formal training in his area, and this period - during which he was heavily influenced by European artists Lucie Rie and Han Coper - gave a strong foundation for the disciplined and intelligent style for which he is now recognised.
Parker has often engaged with pointed intellectual arguments in the creation of his work - most obviously the debate surrounding the handmade; craft versus production in ceramics. His work draws an obvious parallel with a coveted series of early New Zealand production ceramics from manufacturer Crown Lynn, particularly the work of Ernest Shufflebotham in the 1950's. Crown Lynn took the unusual step at the time of employing artisans and designers to create their ranges of mass produced domestic ceramics. The examination of this handmade/mass produced format led Parker to investigate it in his work.
"My aesthetic is of the stark and the industrial via the design concepts of science fiction cinema. My concerns are with finish and control and the infinite possibilities of severe minimalism of form and construction" He strives to create the perfect shape, decorated with geometric grooves applied with flawless precision. These objects are devoid of the 'makers touch' which identifies most studio ceramics, yet they are handmade with every detail and mark attended to by the artist.
More recently Parker has extended this series to a number of more experimental, project-based series revolving around the reconsideration of form and surface. Taking cues from an experimental show 'Superstrata' held at Objectspace in Auckland, he has been developing a series of built-up and interlocked paperclay works, more sculptural than functional, which add a further dimension to Parker's artistic practice.
Parker's work is avidly collected within New Zealand and is held in major public and private collections. This talented man is also recognised as one of New Zealand's leading theatre designers and is well known as a writer and teacher.