Focused on the collection of Diane and Marc Grainer, this installation is a survey of contemporary British studio ceramics. Comprising functional and sculptural objects made between the 1980s and today, the show features work by artists either born or residing in Great Britain, including established “contemporary classics” like Gordon Baldwin and Rupert Spira, and cutting-edge ceramicists such as Julian Stair and Kate Malone. Several recently-gifted works from the Grainers are included.
The Grainers are well-known in the United States as collectors of Studio Furniture and American craft in general, and as leaders in the craft community through their work with the American Crafts Council, the Furniture Society, the James Renwick Alliance, and the Founders’ Circle Ltd. Their extensive and virtuoso collection of contemporary British ceramics is perhaps their greatest contribution to the field.
Rooted in the materiality of clay, a hallmark of studio pottery, the ceramic art featured in the installation chronicles the history of Contemporary British Studio Ceramics. Whether a pot or sculpture, the properties of the raw material, from its soft malleable texture to the alchemy of slips and glazes, and its propensity to melt and harden, are at the core of the artist’s passion.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether or not you go, Contemporary British Studio Ceramics in Britain today the output of excellent ceramics seems more eclectic than elsewhere. This stylish and wide-ranging survey comprises examples of clay art by one hundred major artists, covering the period from the late 1980s through 2009. Drawn from the Diane and Marc Grainer Collection, it includes works by Allison Britton, Edmund de Waal, Kate Malone, Grayson Perry, Julian Stair, Steve Dixon, and Nick Arroyave-Portela, among others. The selection balances functional objects and sculpture; hand-built, thrown, and molded techniques; varieties of scale and color; and cerebral and emotional content.
All the ceramics here are rooted in the materiality of clay. The properties of the raw material, from its soft, malleable texture to the alchemy of slips and glazes, are at the core of the artists’ passion. And, as the text reveals, the younger generation is moving into new directions of art practice.