THE NEW CERAMICISTS BREAKING THROUGH
Artists reinventing the art of ceramics and pottery
by KOD Staff
Pottery is often equated as a “second class art form", typecast as crafty hobby practiced by hippie’s communities and Stepford wives. But the number of clay-based artworks surfacing at major art venues recently suggests that previous perceptions of ceramic art have been shattered, and remoulded into the medium of choice for many contemporary artists.
Retaliating against the age of machines and mass-production, artists are returning to craft in the search for authenticity. Clay is an intimate art form; even the most minimalist of ceramic artwork carries the gentle trace of a human touch. Clay is a visceral medium; it’s sensual and malleable within the artist’s hands, giving them freedom to create instinctually.
As the art market swells with an influx of sleek, sophisticated ceramics, it seems that it has shaken off its craft label once and for all. Pushing clay and glaze in exciting directions, here are the contemporary ceramicists who are breaking through:
Known for her contemporary parodies of 18th Century porcelain figurines, often half naked and indulging in debauched scenes of pleasure and scandal, Chris Antemann gives her ceramics a playful sense of humour. In residency at the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory since 2012, the artist looks at the history of ceramics as decorative objects. Porcelain figurines became highly collectable in the age of gossip, sex and debauchery. Sculpting her own pieces, she paints figurines with elegant floral patterns, but in her signature risqué manner. Oh La La!
Yee Sookyung’s distorted vases are caught in an inextricable pattern of creation and destruction, with surreal effect. After graduating from the College of Fine Arts of the National University in Seoul, Sookyung began touring the villages of Korea, collecting smashed fragments thrown out as rubbish, thought imperfect by the original potter. By carefully resurrecting the discarded waste, she painstakingly reassembled the series “Translated Vases”. Her sculptures are gilded 24-carat gold and judged by which side you view her sculptures from; they either resemble the seductive curves of a woman’s body, or the contorted abstractions of pain.
Georgia Grace Gibson
Bringing a youthful teenage exuberance to the ancient art; Georgia Grace Gibson is the 19-year old artist with a penchant for creating dirty crockery and sculpting zany phallic ceramics. Her art works, strongly rooted in her feminist beliefs, mock traditional gender roles and revel in sexual clichés, all wrapped up in a bow and delivered with a mischievous dose of humour.
Where East meets West, and tradition fuse together in pandemonium; Li Lihong’s sculpture is a branded statement on Chinese commercialism. Inspired by the royal porcelain heritage of his hometown of Dezhen Jin and the tension produced by the influx of western branding in the 1980’s, his sculptures of are hybrids of recognizable logo’s and decorative Chinese patterns, that critique globalization and China’s acceptance of Western values. Marrying ceramics and conceptual art, Li Lihong reminds us that consumerist culture is fragile and easily broken.
Fuelling her “fascination with the overtly decadent, the extravagant and the exuberant”, artist Amy Hughes’s lavish vessels are classical pieces, with a modern twist. Since graduating from the Royal Collage of Art, Hughes has been bridging the past and present, with beautifully opulent vases based on 17th and 18th century porcelain wares.