Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Curator's View - August 2014

As I mentioned last month Richard Godfrey is providing the gallery with his stunning new work. It is now with us and I am in no doubt that it will be one of a number of delights for visitors to enjoy ion the coming months. What makes this new work from Richard so special? I would say that all of the hall marks of his making - design, draughtsmanship, colour sense, glazing and above all creative energy – are brought together to produce individual works which are not easily characterised. Essentially this is ceramic fine art; the work of an artist in clay.
Wendy Kershaw is new to the gallery.
Her framed porcelain panels are distinctive and often illustrate the everyday in an unexpected way. Wendy’s small group of work has made an immediate impact on staff here and we believe that our visitors will be equally delighted with these exceptional pieces.

David and Margaret Frith   This is studio ceramics of the highest order. I did say that our visitors this month would be in for some special ceramic treats.

are exhibiting again this month. They have been making pots for 50 years and yet they remain inventive and endlessly creative. Sometimes we see long established potters whose work is well made but sadly all too predictable. That can never be said of the Frith’s.

 Hiromi Nakajima 

has been a popular ceramic sculptor whose work has been well received in recent years. However, a young daughter and a change of address have impacted on her production. She has now provided us with new work including hippopotamuses that will raise a smile. Good to see her making again.

Putting up this month’s new work will be a joy and I hope that seeing it in the sunshine -which continues to stream into the gallery this summer - will be something special. 

Stuart Dickens - Ceramic Curator 

Friday, 4 July 2014


Regular readers of this blog will know that each month I try to ensure that the character of the gallery is changed with the showing of work from our featured makers. We know that the prospect of seeing new, perhaps previously unseen, makers as well as a changed feel to the gallery appeals to our visitors and is also appreciated by our exhibitors. This month is no exception; however due to a coming together of a number of differing circumstances – some would say the normal ebb and flow of life -  the new work will not all be ready to show at the beginning of the month. Apologies to those that visit early – you may need to come and see us again later in the month, you will not be disappointed!
One maker who will be with us again by the first Saturday is Sun Kim. She has shown with us before but not for some time. Her work is primarily for daily use but her fine pieces, which display an elegance of design, the highest craft skills and monochrome decoration, will enhance any table. I like this work because it is simply about the vessel, its volume and line. I have recently been rereading Sōetsu Yanagi’s ‘The Unknown Craftsman’ and was struck by the exhortation to look at an object directly without interposing thoughts, personal tastes and habits. This may seem rather philosophical, however, it explains why sometimes we say - ‘I don’t normally like this kind of thing but . . . ‘.It is about seeing directly without any external influence. It may be difficult, but as an aspiration I have no doubt that we will begin to widen our horizons and appreciate an object on its own terms. Sun’s work communicates so effectively - tell me if you agree.
Matthew Chambers has exhibited with us a few times over the years and every time we see show his work we are constantly asked how he makes his extraordinary pieces which unfold like large peonies for us to see layer upon delicate layer. Matthew’s work is like no other. He has developed a technique which enables him to create objects which please the eye as well as challenge our perceptions.
I have enormous admiration for Richard Godfrey, His work will be here later in July.
the man and the potter. His fight against serious illness has been an inspiration. Paradoxically perhaps, it has been a period during which he has experienced a burst of extraordinary creative energy – which is saying something given that he has been consistently creative during his several decades as a maker. I believe he is now producing some of his best work ever. Let’s forget about the craft/art debate, this is fine art from any standpoint. Each distinctive piece demonstrates the range of his artistic imagination and the innovative decorative techniques he uses to express his vision. You may think you know Richard’s work, think again and be prepared for a delightful sensory experience.

Finally, just a brief reminder about the third and final show in The Gallery Outside – Art for Outdoors. There will be more information on our website in a few days, suffice to say that on 12 July 2014 we have exciting new work from Jenny Pickford, Judith Hobbs , Peter Garrard, Amy Daniels and Neil Lossock.
Stuart Dickens
Ceramic Curator