The Grand Tour – Claire Partington, Emily Allchurch, James B Webster, Matt Smith

In the 18th and 19th centuries, it became something of a rite of passage for upper class Europeans, mostly from Britain, to embark on the Grand Tour taking in cities such as Paris, Rome, Venice and Florence in order to learn about Classical and Renaissance art and architecture. They’d accumulate works and souvenirs as they did so. Four artists have given a contemporary spin on this phenomenon in Grand Tour at London’s James Freeman Galley.

Continue reading “The Grand Tour – Claire Partington, Emily Allchurch, James B Webster, Matt Smith”

Henrik Uldalen – Lethe

It’s a common theme in history that reactionary groups look back to a so-called golden age, believing that society’s ills will be cured if one returned to the values of the good old days. It’s never that simple of course and the idea of a false collective memory looking at the past through a rose-tinted filter is the theme of Henrik Uldalen’s new solo exhibition, Lethe, at JD Malat Gallery.

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Margaret Curtis – Surface

“I like the clay to speak for itself”, says ceramicist Margaret Curtis, speaking to me at the launch of her new exhibition, Surface, at the Contemporary Ceramics Centre in London. Her pieces, whether they be large vases and cylinders or small bottles and cups, have one thing in common – their imperfection. “I make them in the round, sort of precise, then I start pushing them and poking them and distorting them and let the movement of the clay give a lot of feeling.”

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Rebecca Appleby – Inner Order

Rebecca Appleby is more than a ceramicist. She is an all-round artist who uses ceramics as her canvas. Her abstract pieces are sculptures informed by art, architecture and industrial archaeology. Her work over the past two decades has centred on an exploration of the contemporary urban landscape and its relationship with nature. Now she has a mostly new body of work, Inner Order, just opened at London’s Contemporary Ceramics Centre. 

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Peter Gronquist – Shape Shifter

American artist Peter Gronquist draws on a wide range of media for his works – fabric, metal, ceramics, frosted glass, mirrors, even taxidermy. Working from his barn by a lake near Portland, Oregon, his oeuvre is multi-disciplinary – sculpture, painting and installation.

In whatever medium, his themes have revolved chiefly around American obsessions with material wealth, consumerism, guns, and religion. He once said, “Our culture puts money and violence on way too high a pedestal. I think these days people no longer see the line between entertainment and reality.” 

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Tidal Echo – Bev Bell-Hughes

Like most ceramic artists, Bev Bell-Hughes began by making functional slipware, producing cups, saucers, pots and suchlike and selling them in markets in London. At Harrow art school, she began intuitively pinching the clay, a technique she has refined and which is in abundant evidence at her latest exhibition of 45 new works at London’s Contemporary Ceramics Centre entitled Tidal Echo. Continue reading “Tidal Echo – Bev Bell-Hughes”

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