Craftsmanship in Ceramics, Jewellery, Basketry and Wood / Oxford Ceramics Gallery, Oxford, UK
December 1, 2013 - January 12, 2014
Oxford Ceramics is staging its first exhibition of contemporary applied art in December, with ceramics, wood, basketry and jewellery by some of the UK’s most distinguished artists. The exhibition celebrates the richness and diversity of their work, as well as a shared quality of fine craftsmanship. It will be on show at Oxford Ceramics Gallery until January 12, 2014.
Ceramics are central to the exhibition, with exciting new work by Carina Ciscato and Tanya Gomez. Carina Ciscato is one of the most individual voices in the world of contemporary ceramics. Her architectural vessel forms are constructed from different thrown components, each with its own rhythm and pattern of throwing rings. Her approach is largely intuitive, and her exciting, fluid forms evolve in the making.
Bold saturated colour is a trademark of Tanya Gomez’s cylindrical, flat-topped pots. Recently, however, she has introduced an altogether more restrained palette of celadon, white and coal black. The smooth openings of her coloured pieces have been replaced by a sharp, torn gash, adding an immediacy and edge to her work.
Wood as an art form has been enjoying something of a renaissance in recent years, and exhibitor Jim Partridge - renowned internationally for his serene, beautifully crafted work - is one of its most compelling exponents. His spherical bowls and open vessels are carved from oak, then scorched and polished to a rich, deep black or washed in matt white. The striking studio furniture made by Partridge and Liz Walmsley is also represented in the show - minimal yet monumental, with a quiet, strong presence.
Irish wood turner Liam Flynn makes smooth, rounded vessels in which the character and grain of the wood is integral to the design of the piece. He works mainly in Irish oak, often ebonised, with fine detailing: his bowls may be footed, fluted or double rimmed, with a gently undulating profile.
Wendy Ramshaw CBE is acknowledged as one of the greatest jewellery designers of our time, whose work is represented in some 70 public collections worldwide. She is best known for her signature ring sets, which she displays on elegant, tapered stands. These are, in her own words, “both a sculptural object and a collection of rings”, which can be worn singly or in different combinations to suit the wearer.
The work of basketmaker Joe Hogan is strongly influenced by the landscape of Connemara, where he lives and works. His robust, increasingly sculptural pieces are woven from native willow, and often incorporate twisted bog wood – reminiscent of bleached horns or antlers - from an area of bogland near his home. They are strong, physical pieces with a raw beauty.
Despite the differences in concept, materials and approach, there is considerable common ground between the exhibiting artists: the freshness of their ideas, the ability to bring out the innate character of their materials and, not least, the extraordinary quality of their craftsmanship.
Gallery hours: Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 5.30 pm; Sunday, 2 to 5 pm. The Gallery will be closed from 24 December 2013 to 2 January 2014.
Tel. 01865 512320
Oxford Ceramics Gallery
29 Walton Street
Oxford OX2 6AA
Above: Tanya Gomez, Group of 6, 2013, Porcelain and black clay, 13x11 to 22x16 cm. Photo by Simon Punter.