Clay Today: A Showcase Of Ceramics In Isolation
Clay Today is the first all-ceramics online exhibition curated by me for The Cynthia Corbett Gallery in association with The Young Masters Art Prize featured on Artsy. The exhibition has eighteen international artists working in all mediums of clay, earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The ethos behind this show is to provide a platform for artists and makers working in isolation due to the pandemic which has been very challenging for their working practices and for the production of their objects. The works presented here reflect various directions that these artists followed while adjusting their work processes and treatment of materials, given the constraints of isolation. All the artists are dealing with the challenge of exhibiting work that is tactile and multi-dimensional as physical exhibitions have been curtailed, cancelled and many galleries have had to adjust their programming.
I would like to highlight the artists featured in Clay Today. John Higgins has been working in clay for over forty years. He has created for the exhibition a brand-new piece using high fired earthenware and new glazes based on his visits to the British coastline. Tim Martin was an architect and graduated last year with a Ceramics degree. Martin’s work is based on abstract assembling and the urban environment. Rafaela de Ascanio comes from a painting background and her two vessels reflect her interest in art history. Tanya Gomez works from the wheel-throwing porcelain vessels which she then alters and reassembles. She has applied her newest glazes in our cylindrical vessels. Emma Finch presents two topographical images of London. Her printmaking skills are combined with her painterly use of glaze giving these two wall pieces a fresh contemporary look. Albert Montserrat is the master of the oil spot glaze. His moon jars are very tactile with the thick glazes that drip down the sides of his pots. Ryan Barrett uses digital technology to achieve his form. He uses 3D-Clay printing to achieve these intricate and flowing forms that are not possible on the wheel. Freya Bramble-Carter uses the wheel to create these new vases and new forms for the exhibition. Chris Riggio’s vessels evoke a sense of nostalgia and lost glamour through porcelain. The ornamentation uses glass inlay and simulated gemstones. Judy McKenzie looks at the materiality of clay, using the Japanese technique of Nerikomi to create one-off patterns in her wall pieces. Michel François hand-throws his vessels using traditional pottery methods. Using local minerals and tree ash he crafts his own glazes that reflect and filter light. Chris Bramble builds his vases from the wheel. He adds a figurative element to create more of a sculpture than a vessel. James Pegg’s background in fashion and textiles allows him to make vases that are functional and decorative. The slip-cast vase has a unique pattern due to the use of stained porcelain slip. Cristina Vezzini’s Fragment series is inspired by rock formations. Each work is hand-carved following the faceted form of the vase. Chris Keenan specialises in Limoges porcelain. He combines Caledon and tenmokus glazes in a controlled and modulated way to achieve a perfect balance of colour and form.
In addition, the tradition of promoting artists working in clay is very much the ethos of The Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize (YM) started by Cynthia Corbett in 2014 and which I am proud to be a Judge and Curator. The YM alumni artists participating in Clay Today include YM Prize winner and Highly Acclaimed ceramicist Matt Smith, who currently has a solo exhibition at the Pitts Rivers Museum in Oxford, as well as fellow shortlisted YM Prize artists: former V&A artist-in-residence Amy Hughes, Jo Taylor, whose recent works can be seen at the Korean Ceramics Biennale, and Albert Montserrat.
All the artists are strong believers in giving back to their community. Therefore, we have chosen The Craft Pottery Charitable Trust (CPCT) as the beneficiary of 10% of all sales. The CPCT is the charity of The Craft Potters Association (CPA), a UK organisation which has been promoting contemporary studio ceramic artists for over 60 years. We have four CPA members in the exhibition: Chris Bramble, Tanya Gomez, John Higgins and Chris Keenan. Thus, we are pleased that all ceramic sales will help other ceramic artists through the disbursement of these funds from The CPCT.
I hope that you enjoy this online exhibition Clay Today and are impressed by the range and breadth of art that can be achieved with the medium of clay.
Preston Fitzgerald, Curator.