27 February 2012

NEW IDEAS AT CERAMIC ART LONDON

Anna Barlow's deliciously playful ceramic ice creams

Ceramic Art London, an exhibition of work by over 75 leading ceramists, was held at the Royal College of Art last weekend. The show, put on by The Craft Potters Association in partnership with Ceramic Review, has been running for several years and is one of the most important events in the ceramics calendar. Each artist's work is displayed on a stand a bit like a market stall and, although non-functional ceramics are strongly represented, there is no room for very large pieces or for installations.

For my money, these were some of the best exhibitors, whose work shows development and an engagement with new ideas.



Matthew Blakely. A completely new range of work inspired by the geology of Britain, rougher and wilder than his previously exhibited ceramics.




Jack Doherty. Porcelain fired to produce subtle colours of earth, sky, sea, copper and iron, gradually evolving in its form and glaze.




Clare Crouchman. Tiles, slabs and tablets exploring repetition and variation in a mathematical way. She is not tempted to make vessels. She is also a print maker.




Delfina Emmanuel. Exotic and complex objects hinting at strange life forms. Painstakingly made and full of detail, her work gradually moving away from the teapots she started with.



James Hake. Within the Anglo-Oriental tradition but taking tenmoku and iron glazes to the point of abstraction.



John Higgins. Hand building, basing his structures on thrown forms. The glazed piece pictured herewas not as successful as the rough engobes and oxides he also showed.




Myun Nam An. Making curious and original forms, referring to eyes but also reminiscent of diatoms and bon-bons.




Valeria Nascimento. Grey white and black floating slivers of clay, as far from the vessel form as you can  get. Despite her small exhibition space, she almost mounted an installation.




Elke Sada. Innovative slab built forms decorated in dripping polychrome, looking more like household paint than glaze. A portfolio reveals an artist fizzing with ideas. Awarded the Ceramic Review prize for best in show.




Barry Stedman. A landscape painter gradually evolving his ceramic forms and colours and showing something subtly different at every exhibition.

Each year you will find a few new artists alongside the core of regular exhibitors. If you go every year, you will see familiar work by exhibitors who, it appears, want to remain in the same place. Against that background, it was good to see artists on a journey or with new things to say.

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