6 August – 6 November 2016
“I have always loved the word VASE, its double pronunciation, and with it, its reference to place and class. Within the world of craft and design, this same small word is even more charged and divisive. It’s seldom found within contemporary ceramics, where the less functional word ‘vessel’ is almost always used. I wanted to curate an exhibition that would embrace the functional, examine its history and explore its boundaries.”
– Brian Kennedy, Curator
Ceramics play a huge part in all our daily lives. We wash from a ceramic sink, drink our morning tea or coffee from a ceramic mug, eat from a ceramic dish and when we want to cheer up a room we put flowers in a ceramic vase. Many contemporary artists take these daily objects and rituals and investigate them through their work. This new exhibition focuses on the vase, an object we all have in our lives, and looks at it through the eyes of the artist.
Ever since the Grecian Urn, the vase has a tradition as a container of narrative and vehicle for storytelling. The exhibition looks at how contemporary artists are still addressing issues of the personal and the political within and on, their work.
VASE: Function Reviewed debates issues of functionality in ceramics through a series of works by Irish and international artists. The exhibition showcases a range of objects, from the consciously matching to the gloriously mismatched, the proudly ‘functional’ to the emphatically ‘dysfunctional’, the ‘useful’ and the ‘useless’. It offers a lively and stimulating debate on form versus function within contemporary ceramics and encourages an animated debate on hierarchies within contemporary ceramics, making us look anew at the objects that surround us.
Featuring artists from Europe, Africa and Asia, VASE: Function Reviewed places work by Irish artists such as Sara Flynn, Alison Kay and Derek Wilson within a broader international context. The exhibition also includes work by Kate Malone, one of the judges from The Great British Throw Down TV series, Babs Hannen, one of the best-regarded Dutch ceramists and Hwang Kap Sun, an emerging Korean maker with recent shows in Paris and Geneva. Visitors can also enjoy the work of Carol McNicoll, Alison Britton and Janice Tchalenko - 3 of the 5 women that are credited with changing the direction of studio ceramics in the 1970s. It presents a wide range of approaches from the functional to the more sculptural/abstract this exhibition provides an insight into the issues and concerns addressed by contemporary artists through clay.
Agalis Manessi’s work lies within the tradition of maiolica and celebrates this rich historical medium through many diverse influences ranging from the sophistication of Italian Istoriato dishes through to the simplicity of humble folk wares.
Akiko Hirai makes practical ware using the Japanese tradition of allowing the clay to show how it wants to be fired itself.
Alison Britton has dedicated herself to making, studying and understanding pots. Her distinctive, sculptural works blur the line between art and craft.
Alison Kay’s current work relates to the tradition of the vessel.
Having worked in slip-cast porcelain for over ten years Andrew decided to take on a new challenge and taught himself to throw in porcelain clay in 2006.
Anne Marie Laureys thinks of her ceramics as metaphors for feelings. She starts the process by throwing a classic, symmetrical pot.
The ceramics of Babs Haenen is typified by expressive and impressionistic qualities where colour, line and form all play an equal part.
Carol McNicoll is one of a group of female artists who transformed the British ceramics scene in the 1970s.
By showing things “how they really are”, Deok Ho Kim is rooted in the tradition of minimalism.
Derek Wilson’s practice as a ceramist centres on the making of a diverse range of contemporary objects – from the functional to the sculptural.
Working from her studio in Bath for more than three decades, Felicity Aylieff has more recently developed a collaborative relationship with factories in Jingdezhen, China.
Gráinne Watts creates delicate and playful ceramic forms and vessels.
Heidi Bjørgan has previously used found shapes and ready-mades, and these new works are also based on ‘borrowings’.
I have always had an interest in the relationship between identity and place, in particular, the role which culture plays in molding who we become.
Hitomi Hosono’s ceramics experience is rooted in both Japanese and European traditions.
Janice Tchalenko trained as a studio potter in the late ‘60s. For ten years she produced hand thrown tableware in the ‘Leach’ tradition, but then introduced new shapes and bright colours to set a whole new agenda for the studio pottery movement.
As viewer I measure an experience with personal and collective layers of filtering, selection and interpretation. I read symbols or register association, accept influence and relate to objects in space.
Kap Sun Hwang creates series of cylindrical vases with thin blue stripes.
Observations of nature, particularly its fruits, nuts and berries are the overriding influence in Kate Malone’s work.
Lucinda Mudge’s extraordinary vases captivate the eye with their rich colours and intricate detail. Yet beneath their glimmering surfaces is a familiar world simmering with paranoia and tension.
Mike Byrne’s work explores the edges of, and the connections between design, function, narrative and art.
My thrown forms are pared-down and minimal. Their potency comes from a tension of opposites.
My current series of ceramics show an interaction between what is solid and material and what is often considered numinous and ephemeral.
“China Reformed” demonstrates Ting’s understanding of history, respect for fine craftsmanship, while deliberately injecting it with a contemporary twist.
Philip Eglin’s expressive ceramic work reflects and comments on contemporary culture.
Ruan Hoffmann is a South African based artist, who has already gained a significant reputation for his highly individualistic ceramic pieces.
My work concentrates on the challenges of thrown forms, which are then altered and changed at varying stages of the drying process, producing Sculptural Decorative Vessels.
Interaction with the material is a two-way process. My practice of making, destroying and remaking parallels cycles of decay and renewal.
Working in porcelain, I use a range of approaches in my throwing to create forms that will capture qualities of fluidity, movement and provide a sense of space.