© William J. O’Brien. Photos by Rebecca Fanuele. Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech Gallery, Paris / Brussels.
Jos Devriendt: Day & Night / Pierre Marie Giraud, Bruxelles
January 17 - February 1, 2014
"Since 20 years I have been working on the archetype of the mushroom. It has been a search for a form that could be a sculpture with two different lives. A mushroom during daytime with an obvious and colourful expression capturing the light, and at night an abstract form giving light.
As a sculptor I want to reshape the form from day to night, solely with light: the daylight, which shines upon the sculpture and the artificial light, which comes from within and erases the material form. After researching the form, I experimented with different colours as a means to alter the meaning of the form. Like abstract painters use colours to give a meaning to their work, I do in a three dimensional way.
Artists have been expressing feelings through the sea, nudes or geometric forms.
Why not use mushrooms?
They have a lot of meaning in life.
Basically you can eat them and may be poisoned.
There is the hallucinating effect of some of the exotic species.
The sexual connotation of the mushroom is in many cultures an important element of mythology.
In essence, mushrooms bring me to the big themes of art: life, love and death, and last but not least to humour.”
Mud and Water exhibition / Rokeby Gallery, London
December 16, 2013 - March 7, 2014
ROKEBY‘s inaugural exhibition in its new gallery space looks to the history of British studio ceramics and the Modernist rhetoric used by figures associated with the movement. Including work by a selection of British Studio Potters alongside contemporary artists working across media, the exhibition investigates a current interest in process, materiality and truthfulness to medium.
Exhibited artists: Jack Brindley, Clive Bowen, Jane Bustin, Michael Cardew, Edwin Beer Fishley, The Granchester Pottery, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Bernard Leach, Janet Leach, Kate Newby, Chris Prindl, Gideon Rubin, Nicola Tassie, Jesse Wine, Mizuyo Yamashita
Despite a recent tendency to see ceramics and the modern British art movement as separate disciplines the two are closely interwoven. The approaches of artists working in clay such as Bernard Leach, considered the father of the British studio pottery, and Michael Cardew (1) mirrored the Modernist ideas gaining currency in Britain in the early 1920’s in both painting and sculpture. Post war art in Britain drew upon - amongst other things - the tradition of the handmade. This is especially true in St Ives where Bernard Leach chose to set up his first pottery. Leach united the classical pottery traditions of Asia (2) including their taste for imperfections with those of English slipware potters to define the modernist vernacular revival.
The exhibition brings together a group of cross-generational artists all of whom are experimental in their approach. When Leach and Cardew looked to the history of slipware in Britain they were never nostalgic (3). Rather they combined pre-industrial techniques with a Modernist spirit; combining raw materials with the performative act of making and inherited forms with a simpler more direct language.
No straightforward link is suggested in bringing the artists together in this exhibition, but an inheritance of concerns and a shared interest in the handling of material and unpredictable processes can be perceived, regardless of their chosen medium. It is the principles and values of heterogeneity, destabilization and irrationality that interest them all, a questioning of the distinctions between art and craft and a concern for the physical - and especially the human body - in the making and viewing the work.
(1) Cardew was a pupil of Leach’s in St Ives from 1923-26.
(2) Leach was born in Hong Kong but spent his first years in Japan. He attended the Slade, London and in 1909 arrived in Japan for a second time.
(3) The earliest work in the exhibition is an earthenware slipware mug by Edwin Beer Fishley from Michael Cardew’s private collection. Cardew had a particular affinity for Edwin Beer Fishley and counted the rural potter as one of his most important influences.
With thanks to Timothy Taylor Gallery and David Bowie for loaning work to the exhibition and Simon Jones for providing exhibition furniture.