Material Presence @ AWARD British Ceramic Biennial 2019
7th September – 13th October 2019
In 2019 Material Presence was selected for AWARD the British Ceramics Biennial headline exhibition. Set in the China Hall on the former Spode Factory site, the other selected artists were Adam Buick, Elliot Denny, Barry Anthony Finan, Jessica Harrison, Vicky Lindo and William Brookes, Sam Lucas, John Rainey, Irina Razumovskaya and Hannah Townsend.
“AWARD is a showcase for ground-breaking and progressive practice, capturing the breadth and dynamism of artists engaging with clay today. It is an opportunity for ambition, and for new ideas to be explored and presented in a truly remarkable and historic location.”
Alun Graves, Senior Curator of the V&A.
Material Presence exists as a still life – a part cleared kitchen table made from walnut with a CNC milled surface, and the washing up made from a fine white porcelain. The intent of this work is to bring to the fore the intricacies of our everyday, to pay homage to the ordinary moments that punctuate our lives as they are lived. Through this focused attention on everyday domestic objects and an ordinary scene, the work also exists as a study of humanness; it is an endeavour to engage with the intangible and emotive aspects of life through material processes and form.
A colander, a saucepan, a skillet, mugs, cups, bowls have been carved from plaster, by hand or on a lathe, before being moulded and cast in porcelain. All evidence of the life and histories of these porcelain objects has been removed, the surfaces are smoothed and blemish free. They are arranged as one might find them on a kitchen surface – chaotic and jumbled – awaiting the moment when they will be washed up. Welling over the edge of a spoon, in the midst of these forms, is a pool of porcelain and flux. The heat of the kiln chamber has been used to seek out moments of fluidity. Through methodical trialling the porcelain and flux material becomes both a heaped teaspoon ready to tip into a cup, and liquid caught just before spilling over another spoon’s edge.
The kitchen table made from walnut features a rucked tablecloth marked by dishes that once sat upon it, a knife, a spoon, and remnants of food that has been eaten.
In contrast to the precise lines and blemish free surfaces of the porcelain forms, the defining edges of the items on this table’s surface are blurred, histories of a particular lived moment have been made solid, the table a monument to those histories.
There is a namelessness and an intimacy that this work hopes to convey, a disquieting and a wonder, and an invitation for tenderness towards an ordinary everyday moment.