Vivienne Foley is one of Britain’s leading sculptors in porcelain – for more than 40 years she has been making works that are distinguished for their flowing lines and clean classical shapes. Her pieces, with their sculptural curves, are accentuated by monochrome glazes. All the works on show are the last Vivienne will make in this material, as the clay she uses is no longer available. Going forward, Vivienne must develop a new and alternative porcelain body.
Foley uses the technique of classical wheel-throwing and turning. She is able to work with clay with the precision of an engineer, joining thinly made sections to attain height. The use of these construction methods in porcelain is unusual, due to the high risk of shrinkage and lack of plasticity. Foley’s unique work manages to incorporate these innovative techniques whilst retaining the finest quality material.
‘The excitement and challenge for me is to produce flowing forms from a process fraught with technical difficulties’ says Foley, ‘I try to factor in all the variables knowing that during drying, glazing and firing, the works will take on a life of their own, and that no two are ever the same’.
The most recent development of her practice is a series of bronze sculptures based on her porcelains. Working with a leading English art foundry she explores the characteristics of two very different materials, both of which share ancient and dynamic histories. Her trademark skills translate lightly between the two.
The years 2007 and 2014 respectively saw the publication of a coffee table monograph published by Moonmouse Creative Ltd, and an authoritative book on the art and practice of porcelain published by Bloomsbury in the UK, USA and Canada.
Recently relocated from central London to Cheltenham, England, her profile is international. Her work is in the White House, the Royal Households of Sweden and Saudi Arabia, the National Museum of Ireland, as well as embassies, hotels and corporate headquarters worldwide.
Vivienne’s exhibition opens Saturday 10 February in the Pod as part of our Material Earth: Myth, Material & Metamorphosis exhibition.
Top Photo: (from left to right) Off Centre Bottle, Garlic Mouth Bottle, Little Bottle
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