The idea of open a new post for only recording artworks that I am interested in has been sparked in level 5. The reason for doing this is to monitor my aesthetic changes in ceramics and art, and also for easy reference.
The following artists’ information is put in order from my level 4 till now. Some of the works I have put in personal thoughts and some are only for recording information.
Kate Blacklock, an American painter, sculptor and photographer. Most of her ceramics work is made up of porcelain busts. The porcelain busts’ surfaces act as film screens on which images are painted such as flowers, hands and multiple faces. Although her work is an exploration of themes of beauty, ageing and mortality, as stated in her website, it gives me a sense of surreal dreams, mystery, loneliness and alternation between the reality and dreams.
Sergei Isupov, is Russian artist, whose work embodies intricacy, surrealism and sexuality. Many of his works are a hybrid of humans and animals, and bust with painting on its surface that echoes to the shape of the sculpture. It is difficult to distinguish whether it is a flattened imagery or a three-dimensional form. The paintings which appear on the surface seem like tattoos embedded into human skin. These contain a hidden message or narrative implying pleasure or joy from sexuality, struggling and suffering. In addition, hidden design often appears at the base of his sculptures. His work is meticulously made and the surreal painting is so realistically painted it somewhat causes anxiety to the audiences.
Johnson Tsang, a Hong Kong based ceramics artist who employs realistic sculptures but with surreal expression. The works are usually made out of porcelain, first thrown on the wheel and then altered afterwards. A very strong sense of movement is shown in his work such as water splashing, an adorable baby bouncing on the surface of water or kissing teacups. The artist deftly demonstrates a state of softness and fluidity which completely contrasts with the character of the material. Baby figures are frequently used in his work in which innocent babies are being playful, curious and sometimes portraying agony in the realistic world.
Using the fine porcelain to create human sculptures that emphasise the quality of delicate human skin and the whiteness of the porcelain retains the innocence of children. In his work glazes are seldom used by the artist except cobalt is occasionally used. That is likely related to the cultural background of the artist.
Austrian ceramist Thomas Bohle
The first impression of the artist’s work is that of perfectionism. It demands a high level of skill and balance of form. The artist’s interest lies in double-walled vessels in which the interior and exterior shape / form differ from each other but exist harmoniously. Increasing the contrast in form, matt and shiny glazes in rich variation colours are used in his work, such as ox-blood or celadon (both are traditional Chinese glazes). Every piece is perfectly thrown on the wheel and a scalpel is often used by the artist to shape the sharply worked edges of the inwardly descending form. The vessels are then fired in an open reduction flame or a reduction firing process in a gas furnace at a temperature of 1280C. The overall appearance of his work shows a clear sense of form and precision craftsmanship.
Bobby Silverman’s installation Beyond Memory
Bobby Silverman is an artist who subtly re-contextualises the meaning of objects by stacking plates, bowls and vases together. They have their own shapes, forms and colours. Their familiar forms can be easily found in kitchen cupboards or on a dining table. Except for having their same practical value, they seem to be unrelated and can exist individually.
Ceramic has long been regarded as a functional material for creating practical objects. The artist tactfully assembles the vessels together in a group to form a botanic-like sculpture. The arrays of grouped vessels are placed on the gallery floor rather than on conventional pedestals suggesting natural scenery. The familiar forms become an unfamiliar object giving a feeling of alienation and changing the audiences’ perception towards the objects.
Other than displaying his work in an unconventional way Bobby Silverman also uses angle and degree of light intensity which saturates the colours of the vessels, and strengthen the shadows and highlight. The interplay of the lights and colourfully glazed vessels deliver a visually excitement to the audiences.
I admire the way that the artist redefines the meaning of an ordinary object. He elaborately reassembles the vessels and changes their traditional placement method, seeking to change audiences’ perception towards the objects. In this installation, ceramics retains its inherently humble quality while a new meaning to the objects is given.
Polish artist Monika Grzymala uses black and white adhesive tapes to wrap around corners, walls and ceilings of galleries and each work is site-specific. Her work transforms simple drawing marks into dynamic three dimensional artworks which are highly responsive to the conditions of a given space.
The slightly twisted adhesive tape gives the same effect as pen drawing. The tape was pulled tightly in tension giving a sense of the physical work of the artist involved in her installation.
Simon Carroll ( – 31st March 2009)
Slip decorating may be considered as unfashionable for decorating a vessel. Simon Carroll, a British artist, had a very different vision to this materials. Fascinated by the 17th – 18th century slip-decorated wares and the work of abstract expressionists, in particular Jackson Pollock and Peter Voulkos, Carroll incorporated unconventional approach into the conventional. This ingenious artist developed his own way of expression in ceramics. His work provokes strength, energy and passion. The artist also impressed by the instinctive way which people use clay which lead him to the use of intuition in creation.
Erna Kaarina Aaltonen
Erna Kaarina Aaltonen is a Finnish ceramist who makes hand-built sculptural vessels from a coarse stoneware clay with rubbing oxides on its pitted surface. The colours and organic forms of her sculpture vessels and the composition in the exhibitions made me think of our relationship with the environment especially nature. Besides the use of colours, the texture on the surface of the vessels also inform a sense of nature.
From my point of view, Erna Kaarina Aaltonen’s work has a certain degree of similarity with Boby Silverman’s. Both their work have unique shapes and forms and can exist individually. They are contradictory in style but in a way show balancing when they are composed together. This conveys a special visual effect to the audiences in which landscape views are suggested.
Sara Moorehouse, a British ceramicst.
The work of Sara Moorehouse has inspired by nature’s colour combination through changing seasons. Sara Moorehouse minimise the ever-changing colours of seasons and uses ceramics as her canvas to express the relationship of colour and spatial changing. The artist is also fascinated by the colour of landscapes changing through seasons, usch as seascapes, oilseed rape fields and coastlines. Each piece of work is hand thrown and hand painted. The use of different colours stripes on her ceramic bowls represents seasons changes over landscapes which gives the illusion of spatial phenomena.
“……When I enjoyed drawing pots back in Egypt, it never occurred to me that I would be making them.
The mark making is now a direct interaction between the hand and a lump of clay, fingers are no longer just used to hold the pencil but to exact an immediate gesture manipulating the solid mass of clay.
They become tools that are hard wired directly to our brains, forming, touching and sensing, creating a voluminous form, a container of material, thoughts and emotions.
These very tools – our fingers – become an integral part of appreciating ceramics forms when we approach them as an audience, connecting both maker and observer…..”
The teacups and teapots differ from forms and colours but carry the same nature – functionality. They will respond to their practical value if they were standalone whereas abstracted narrative is conveyed if formed into a group. The decoration of the wares is restrained and eliminated the unnecessary details to emphasize their practical purpose.