Nao_Matsunaga_Maybe_or_Maybe_Not(2016) image © Philip Sayer, courtesy of Marsden Woo Gallery, London copy (artists page)

MATERIAL; EARTH
12 March – 1 May 2017
Opening night: Saturday 11th March 6-8pm

Artists explore the language of ceramic over the past seventy years

In the late 1920s Bernard Leach established the British Studio Pottery movement, since then there has been a steady emergence of flourishing talent, reflecting a diversity of ideas and vision for clay as an expressive medium.

The exhibition “Material Earth” presents an introduction to a variety of artistic interpretations of clay, from the pots we use everyday, to abstract and conceptual sculpture.

From the 1940s – 1970s, Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, as avant-garde innovators, changed the direction and perception of ceramics.  Through their fresh and deeply cultured approach they made modern pots of extraordinary beauty, their reputation continues to grow and influence internationally to this day.

During the early 1970s, a radical group of RCA graduates laid the foundations of what became known as “The New Ceramics”.  Deconstructed elements began to appear in functional pottery, showing a new and progressive advance. Alison Britton describes her jug forms as ‘A good vehicle for playing with images of disparity and connection as between sculpture and painting’.

At the same time, Gordon Baldwin was exploring the potential of clay, with his voyage into expressionist sculpture, influenced by modernist art, literature and landscape. Ewen Henderson and Gillian Lowndes were defining their own paths. Henderson, formerly a painter deliberately contradicted accepted practices of ‘fluxed earth’ while Lowndes explored hitherto unknown country, intuitively creating ephemeral work, some of which disintegrated.

As one of Britain’s most important ceramic artists, Richard Slee, was at the vanguard of a new genre of studio ceramics – seamlessly integrating the hand made and reinventing the ready-made. He and Grayson Perry epitomise the now fluid boundaries of 21C artistic practice, both using the medium to explore past histories and sociopolitical issues.

Over the last decade Edmund de Waal’s minimalist aesthetic has taken ceramics firmly into the world of Architecture, Fine Art and Installation and ensures the continuation of a new generation of artists embracing the medium and harnessing digital technology to create an exciting new sculptural language.

Featured in the exhibition are a number of key artists: Felicity Aylieff, Sam Bakewell, Gordon Baldwin, Alison Britton, Christie Brown, Sandy Brown, Adam Buick, Stephanie Buttle, Hans Coper, Michael Eden, Philip Eglin, Elizabeth Fritsch, Malene Hartmann Rasmussen, Ewen Henderson, Lucille Lewin, Gillian Lowndes, Geoffrey Mann, Alexander MacDonald- Buchanan, Nao Matsunaga, Grayson Perry, Lucie Rie, Richard Slee, Julian Stair, Kaori Tatebayashi, Annie Turner, Bouke de Vries and Edmund de Waal

Two rare early works by Grayson Perry made by the artist in 1984 include a plate inscribed with the words, Death to Grayson Perry which features one of the earliest known self-portraits of the artist.

The show is supported throughout by  a series of talks and events:

TALK: Material: Earth, 3 by 15 Artists Talk, Saturday 25 March 2017

TALK: Collecting Ceramics with Experts & Collectors, Wednesday 5 April 2017

TALK: Materials & Making: By Hand to the Digital Age, Saturday 8 April 2017

MAKERS FESTIVAL Saturday 29 & 30 April 2017

 

About Messums Wiltshire:

Messums Wiltshire is the largest example of a monastic barn in the UK. Dating from the 13th Century and previously used for farm storage it has been extensively restored and opened in September 2016 as a centre for showcasing creativity and experience in performance, design and art.

As the gallery seeks to make the diverse languages of the visual arts accessible and inclusive to the broadest possible range of audiences, the exhibition will be supported by a series of talks and workshops and an educational programme open to schools and young people, culminating in a Makers Festival on 29 and 30 April comprising talks on craft education, collecting ceramics and the value of making as well as extensive events for the public to engage with the making process.

Messums Wiltshire is open to the public Wednesday – Saturday 10-5pm and Sunday 10-4pm. Free entrance. To schools on Monday & Tuesday. To ensure the best possible experience if you are traveling as a large group please contact the gallery in advance. 

For further details please visit our website www.messumswiltshire.com

www.messumswiltshire.com

Image: Nao Matsunaga ‘Maybe or Maybe Not’.  Photo © Philip Sayer
Courtesy of Marsden Woo Gallery, London

 

PRESS RELEASE
:

Material: Earth
12 March – 1 May 2017
Opening night: Saturday 11th March 6-8pm

A major new exhibition celebrating the use of clay in contemporary art opens on 12 March at Messums Wiltshire. Featuring work by leading British artists, Material: Earth is the first in a series of three shows exploring the art of making and use of natural materials in contemporary art. Subsequent exhibitions will focus on contemporary artists using wood and light.

Messums Wiltshire is a new visual arts centre situated in a 13th century monastic barn in Tisbury that has welcomed more than 4,500 visitors since it opened last September. This exhibition will explore how clay, that most elemental and ancient of materials is increasingly shaping a new aesthetic. It shows how artists have created new forms of art through a complex and fluent merging of past idioms, styles and format.

The exhibition aims to illustrate how since the 1970’s there has been a quiet but steady progression in the use of ceramics away from studio pottery towards the challenging and immersive arena of contemporary art. Featured in the exhibition are a number of key artists including Felicity Aylieff, Hans Coper, Gillian Lowndes, Grayson Perry, Gordon Baldwin, Sandy Brown, Philip Eglin, Alison Britton, Michael Eden, Bouke de Vries, Christie Brown, Stephanie Buttle, Malene Hartmann Rasmussen and Kaori Tatebayashi.

Two rare early works by Grayson Perry made by the artist in 1984 includes a plate inscribed with the words, Death to Grayson Perry which features one of the earliest known self-portraits of the artist.

In addition to the exhibition will be a collaboration between well-known makers and volunteers

to create a coral reef installation out of clay. Buried deep in the earth surrounding the barn is a geological seabed with a unique fossilised coral reef. A piece of Tisbury coral was found in a 400,000 year old burial ground 120 miles east at Swanscombe in Kent, indicating that inanimate objects held significance to our antecedents. At the end of the show pieces of the clay reef will be dispersed to participants in the making process completing the link to one of the earliest manuports in the country.

As the gallery seeks to make the diverse languages of the visual arts accessible and inclusive to the broadest possible range of audiences, the exhibition will be supported by a series of talks and workshops and an educational programme open to schools and young people, culminating in a Makers Festival on 29 and 30 April comprising talks on craft education, collecting ceramics and the value of making as well as extensive events for the public to engage with the making process.

For further details please visit our website www.messumswiltshire.com

Press contact: For further information, images or interviews please contact:

Paddy Seymour Tel: 01747 445042 Mob: 07392 970629

email: paddy@messumswiltshire.com

Editors note:

About Messums Wiltshire:

Messums Wiltshire is the largest example of a monastic barn in the UK, dating from the 13th Century it has one of the largest thatched roofs in the country. Previously used for farm storage it has been extensively restored and opened in September 2016 as a centre for showcasing creativity and experience in performance, design and art.

Messums Wiltshire is open to the public Wednesday – Saturday 10-5pm and Sunday 10-4pm. Free entrance. To schools on Monday & Tuesday. To ensure the best possible experience if you are traveling as a large group please contact the gallery in advance.

www.messumswiltshire.com

Messums Wiltshire, Place Farm, Court Street, Tisbury, Wiltshire SP3 6LW www.messumswiltshire.com 01747 445042 info@messumswiltshire.com