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”

James Oughtibridge – Ebb and Flow

Like so much good art, ceramicist James Oughtibridge’s work only begins with a vague idea of what he wants to end up with. His sculptures grow and evolve from slabs of clay to round, curvaceous forms in which perspectives change and deceive around undulations, peaks and troughs defined by sometimes smooth, sometimes sharp edges. There are openings like blowholes, spheres resembling bubbles with a certain lightness enhanced by the interplay of light and shadow that contradicts the weight of the medium.  Continue reading “James Oughtibridge – Ebb and Flow”

The London Open 2018

The London Open 2018, which was launched on Thursday at The Whitechapel Gallery, claims to feature some of the best contemporary art around by those resident in the capital. It happens every three years in a tradition dating back to 1932. Its judging panel, including the Gallery’s Emily Butler, whittled 2,600 applications down to those representing just 22 artists. They were chosen not only for the quality of their work, but also for representing various themes current in London over the past three years and for having a long-term engagement with their subject matter. Continue reading “The London Open 2018”

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