Shifting Lines is the opening exhibition in the second series of a national touring project known as The Language of Clay. A solo exhibition by ceramic artist Justine Allison, Shifting Lines presents a new body of work that celebrates singular expertise. It also contributes to the wider dialogue about ceramic practice, its vast repertoire and accomplished practitioners.
A dynamic raw material, clay has been inventively and creatively well used across millennia and across continents. Its material qualities enable it to be used in copious ways, from filtering systems to electric insulators to serving our coffee to decorative adornment. It is a material we enjoy using, working with and having in our homes. It delivers function and can be transformed into the most breath-taking of forms.
The current resurgence in the use of clay by a host of multi-disciplined artists offers a particular context for presenting exhibitions of work by ceramic practitioners. Like many things, understanding the material and honing skills in using it will more likely render results that have greater integrity and longevity. Sometimes the enjoyment of a ceramic form will come from its touch or its use, sometimes from its appearance, sometimes from understanding how it’s made or from the idea behind it and sometimes because of how it makes us feel. Always though, it takes the hand of a maker who knows clay to interpret its qualities into ceramic that truly sings.
The three artists whose work we’ll enjoy in this series, Justine Allison, Ingrid Murphy and Kate Haywood, are specialists in ceramic practice. For each of them, clay is the primary material, one that they know fundamentally well and each work with in inimitable ways.
Balanced between functional and sculptural, Justine’s practice brings us precious porcelain vessels that capture the light. Ingrid has fun pushing the boundaries of technology in her work. Integrating ever-advancing technological resources into her ceramic forms, Ingrid uses familiar items to uncover histories and narratives. Kate creates meticulous sculptural forms. Her conceptual practice is research driven and methodical. Combined with an elegant aesthetic, the precision of her process makes her work poetic.
The Language of Clay exhibitions will be touring venues across Wales during 2017-2019. Accompanied by programmes of activity, they afford opportunities for us to further expand the consideration of ceramic practice and to meet some of our brilliant ceramic artists.