Paula Bellacera: Bird Whisperer, 11” x 8” x 7”, 2011, handbuilt, low-fire clay, glaze, underglaze, paint
Paula Bellacera: Bee with Purple Head, 4” high, 2011, handbuilt, low-fire clay, glaze, underglaze, paint
Paula Bellacera: 9 Lives, 9” x 12” x 8”, 2011, handbuilt, low-fire clay, glaze, underglaze, paint
Jean-François Fouilhoux, stoneware sculpture / Galerie Capazza, Nançay, France
17th March - 17th June 2012
Opening reception: Saturday, March 17th, 5.00pm
I love clay.
I’m always moved to see the mark made by my fingers in soil.
Clay remembers their lightest touch and retains the slightest motion transmitted to it.
The mildest inflection – or even hesitation – leaves its trace.
It is a recorder of emotions. Hasn’t a scientist said that given the right tools, one could hear the sounds generated in the studio when a pot is being thrown because they are etched into its surface, like the first recordings of voices on wax cylinders? This highly singular property of clay is all the richer because the firing sets these marks and preserves their traces.
Like the wall of a cave and pigment, or paper and pencil, clay engages with the hands and the body.
I write in the soil.
My pencil? A flexible blade that I bend at will. My medium? A wall of clay.
I sketch in space by drawing the blade through the wall and slicing into its thickness.
The line is a continuous one, just as with writing, and the volume takes form blindly, as imagined by the gesture.
The form is then composed of two interlocking elements, separated by a small gap.
We could say that each is a mould or an impression of the other, with a space that Marcel Duchamp defined as being ‘infra-thin’. They are born of the same gesture: the trace left by the motion of the flexible blade is all that ultimately interests me.
I then sacrifice one of the two parts, which I destroy to allow the impression of the gesture to appear.
Traces of energy, of tension… Like a calligrapher, I have meditated on the gesture before executing it. It is a sort of dance or ritual in which the movement is expansive, dynamic, continuous and without regrets.The goal is freeing up the sensitive impression, after a privileged moment, by emptying its material content and reducing it to a skin,
then bringing it to life as if suspended in the void… and simply capturing the energy of the gesture expressed in space…
This is yet another story of fullness and emptiness, which is recurrent in ceramics. It is also the story of celadon – translucent – another symbol for completeness and void: both matter and light.
The nature of things / New Art Centre, Roche Court, Wiltshire, UK
4 February - 15 April 2012
The nature of things is the second in a series of design shows in the Artists’ House curated by Sarah Griffin. In the Artists’ House, the allocation of function in the architecture dictates the layout and content of the exhibition. The monumental and uncanny willow forms by Laura Ellen Bacon dominate the double elevation of the exterior of the house. Her forms identify its scale and architectural character - dramatically organic against the backdrop of modernist rigour.
Hans Stofer takes up residence in the bedroom on the ground floor, where he unpacks his personal life and turns the room into a confessional. The most ephemeral and inconsequential of materials are tenderly remade into jewellery and autobiography, a mix of found objects made meaningful through artistry and intention. This very private space requires the viewer to trespass and scrutinise.
On the first floor, ceramic vessels by Jennifer Lee revel in light and space. Born of meticulous research and experiment, the controlled, poised forms belie their organic hand-built beginnings. The unglazed surfaces speak of a multitude of abstracted references, but it is as function and sculpture in perfect proportion to the human body that they are understood.
Sarah Griffin has described her selection for the exhibition as follows: In her house, Madeleine Bessborough keeps a table for her grandchildren with finds from nature and otherwise. Invariably one will see a bird’s nest, a petrified newt, a dried allium head, curiously shaped flints, a plastic butterfly. The table is found in the Cube, itself a carefully curated space, and the proximity of the specimen table to the art around it is typical of the way one looks at everything at Roche, with heightened awareness flipping between display, art, nature, accident and intent. This way of looking and seeing also informs my selection of artists for the Artists’ House.
Debra Fleury: Tidal 2011. Dark Stoneware, Porcelain and glass. Fired to cone 6 (neutral atmosphere), (wall installation). Dimensions variable, average size per individual piece is approximately 10 cm x 10 cm x 8 cm
Debra Fleury: Tidal (detail), 2011. Dark Stoneware, Porcelain, and glass.
Debra Fleury: Flow, 2011. Red stoneware, porcelain and glaze. Fired to cone 10 (reduction atmosphere). Dimensions 28 cm x 28 cm x 7 cm
Debra Fleury: Husk, 2010. White Stoneware and underglaze. Fired to Cone 1 (neutral atmosphere). Dimensions 13 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm
Debra Fleury: Limpid, 2011. Dark Stoneware, Porcelain and glass. Fired to cone 6 (neutral atmosphere), (wall or surface installation). Dimensions variable, average size per individual piece is approximately 11 cm x 11 cm x 5 cm
Debra Fleury: Fallen, 2010, alternative view