Cracked is on view at Tristan Hoare, London
September 23 – October 29, 2021
Tristan Hoare is delighted to present Cracked, an exhibition curated by Leonie Mir and dedicated to hand-moulded ceramics made without the use of a wheel. By removing the structure provided by a wheel, the exhibition focuses on contemporary artists who construct, sculpt and mould clay, demonstrating what can be achieved with ‘a little bit of mud and a little bit of genius’ (Paul Gauguin).
Paul Gauguin, an early advocate of ceramic art, personally promoted hand-moulding in an effort to replace the potter at his wheel with ‘intelligent hands which could impart the life of a figure to a vase, while remaining true to the character of the material’.
There is a sensuousness about the process of manipulating clay by hand, accentuated by the speed at which the creator has to move in this quick-drying medium. The process demands impulsive decisions and to some extent, the artist never has full control. The last step is the ultimate act of unpredictability: placing work in the kiln and allowing the flames to imbue the final colour and texture.
Among the many artists we are exhibiting, we are excited to be including Shinichi Sawada’s ceramic creatures. Their eccentric, thorny exteriors are a mixture of historical totems and mass-manufactured motifs from popular culture. Powerful in a different way are Seni Awa Camara’s multi-headed figures made in rural Senegal on an open fire. The figures exude charisma, shaping stories dreamed or imagined by the artist.
Equally unusual are Myung Jin Kim’s surreal forms inspired by nature which combine drawing, painting and sculpting in terracotta and make use of the ancient technique of building with coils.
Shawanda Corbett’s smooth and vibrantly coloured pairs are based on people she knows. One shape suggesting the personality, the other the appearance of the person and are made listening to different jazz records whose influence seeps into the appearance. Luster and gold are added to highlight the status and worth of the individual in the artist’s eyes. Similarly skilful but more mischievous in her storytelling is Alma Berrow who uses ashtrays, cigarette butts and the paraphernalia of a good night-out to set the scene.
Also included in the exhibition are works by New York based artist Peter Schlesinger who has been hand-moulding clay for over 30 years. He creates work using unusual shapes and glazes, combining his own visual language with elements of antique ironwork, bronzes and traditional ceramic forms. Schlesinger’s ceramics possess a personality of their own and are vibrant contemporary works with a living connection to the past. Likewise, Sterling Ruby has a relationship with clay stretching back 20 years. His instinctive childlike explorations in clay are refreshingly unrestricted by the theory and concepts he learnt as an art student.
In recent years, more artists have begun working in clay and exploring its potential, presenting us with an opportunity to show their work alongside artists who have a longer relationship with the material and more experience of moulding by hand. The huge range of different approaches, materials, glazes, sizes and techniques will make this a vibrant and visually dynamic autumn exhibition!
Leonie Mir is a London-based art advisor and curator for 20th and 21st century art with a passion for ceramics. After more than 20 years in the art market, Leonie started her own business in 2020, focusing on curatorial and creative projects, as well as advising private clients. Leonie curated and organised a pioneering contemporary and modern ceramics auction, the first of its kind at Christie’s in 2018.
At the same time as Cracked, Tristan Hoare is delighted to be hosting the Troy Town Shop!
Founded in 2014 by Aaron Angell, Troy Town Art Pottery is a ceramic workshop which has hosted over 80 artists in residence, acting as Aaron’s studio as well as a ceramics hub in Hoxton. It also provides a home to Hoxton Gardenware, a youth-led non-profit enterprise producing smallbatch terracotta pieces inspired by British garden pottery.
The Troy Town Shop will be offering ceramics by the studio and Hoxton Gardenware from £30 to £300 and 60% of the proceeds will go to supporting Troy Town’s non-profit enterprises.
6 Fitzroy Square
London W1T 5DX