Research: Sculpture with Clay

Anna Mallory

Honoring the sacredness of water to our existence, Water’s Scrins are a series of vertical sculptures in the tradition of Inuit stone totems, pre-historic European menhirs and anthropomorphic stelae. Standing stones sculptures echo these ‘communal signposts’. Scrin, an old Anglo-Saxon word meaning ‘a secure container’ (which held writing) evolved into our modern English words of script (scripture) and shrine.

“In her most recent work, Mallory has drawn inspiration from the vertical stone configurations created by primeval civilizations to visually communicate important information to community members. Her stacked “standing stones,” in form and content, echo the Inuit inukshuk stone totems, European menhirs and anthropomorphic stelae. An ancient Anglo-Saxon term, scrin, (which evolved into the modern English words “script” and “shrine”) meaning “a secure container protecting sacred writing,” further informed her thinking. These two seemingly divergent ideas synthesized in her most recent sculpture, Water’s Scrin, in which the upright pieces bear the imprints of “the writing of water” on its surfaces, thereby implying the “sacredness” of the life-sustaining liquid. The inherent beauty of the overlapping celadon and white porcelain glaze flows holds the moment of “water’s writing” as both visual message and arresting aesthetic.”

Shary Boyle

The Canadian artist, who represented her country at the Venice Biennale in 2013, has a varied practise that incorporates collage, projection, sound performance, installation, drawing, and, notably, ceramics. Research into the techniques of the Meissen factories led to Boyle creating an immaculately produced, fantastical, feminist rethinking of classical porcelain objects.

Arlene Shechet

The concept of the vessel is reconsidered in the fat, porous, sprawling ceramic objects of this American artist. The straight lines of kiln bricks contrast to rough, bubbling skin-like textures within single pieces. She also recently appropriated the moulds at the Miessen porcelain factory in Germany for a series of offbeat and irregular reinventions of classical china.

Jesse Wine

One of the most exciting emerging young British artists working with clay, Wine is currently an artist in residence at the Camden Arts Centre, and recently exhibited with Mary Mary to coincide with the Glasgow International. Wine creates glazed ceramics that resemble saggy arses and rough faces. Here the idea of a functional vessel breaks apart, as the clay falls in on itself.

Stephanie Quayle

The work focuses on the animal and the force of nature inherent within. Familiar yet distinct from man, the us-ness in their eyes masks an otherness which undermines it. A fascination for ‘animal-ness’ and pursuing what it is like to be animal, drives the making process. Direct and energetic the clay becomes inhabited rather than an image of its self.

Bringing together the untamed, exotic, wild otherness of animals with domestic objects or the civilised spaces we inhabit,highlights the tensions between man and beast and questions the boundaries of our inner animalness, drawing out an inner force intrinsic to our spirit.

Two Cows

Primitivistic, essential and elemental; the sculptures of Stephanie Quayle link man to nature, animal to human, through the organic material of clay itself.
Working on a farm, the relationship that lies between beast, both domestic and wild, and human is of central concern; “I’m interested in how much we align or distance ourselves from them – how they reflect, question and return our gaze. How they see into our souls and connect us to the natural world and force of nature inherent within.”

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