Figure: Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture curated by Mike Robinson, August - September 2013
Pat Connor, Michael Flynn, Christy Keeney, Lucy Meagher, Peter Meanley, Ann Marie Robinson and Alex Scott. Curated by Mike Robinson
“The pot mantelpiece figure and the more pretentious porcelain figurine in its crinoline frock, that grandma kept locked in the corner cabinet, are familiar to all. Well, times have changed…they (figurative ceramics) are no longer mere twee sentimental decorations. They have also grown in stature and can be literally larger than life. They may attract, amuse and entertain, but they are just as willing and able to challenge, shock, even offend if that is what it takes to get the message across.” Mike Robinson, Curator
Figure brings together seven contemporary artists from Northern and Southern Ireland working in the field of figurative ceramic sculpture. This exhibition which is curated by Mike Robinson includes work by Pat Connor, Michael Flynn, Christy Keeney, Lucy Meagher, Peter Meanley, Ann Marie Robinson and Alex Scott. These artists and makers have been chosen not simply because they are all preeminent in their field, but also because they clearly demonstrate the importance of Ceramic in contemporary art.
Historically, the human figure has represented the most commonly addressed form in sculpture. From the 1950s forward, abstract and non-representational modes of thinking became critical to sculptors and representing the figure in more literal terms fell largely out of fashion. Recently, many artists have returned to the figure but in decidedly contemporary terms, embracing a range of aesthetics and themes.
Figure considers a wide variety of formal and conceptual approaches in Contemporary Ceramics, from more literal terms to those which are implied or symbolically stated. The exhibition opens with the “pot” figure as something familiar, something to warm to, even laugh at and moves through to the decorative. From there Figure ventures into what may be unfamiliar ceramic territory exploring self (anxiety, obsession, desire, dreams) and the expression of, through myth or abstraction, “beliefs and notions essential to us that may escape description let alone definition”.
Commissioned as part of August Craft Month 2013 and influenced by the strength and variety of the figurative tradition, this exhibition explores the contemporary figure from objects to installations, while surveying a broad spectrum of concepts, forms and materials.
A publication (in August) and four part lecture series by Mike Robinson (September) will accompany the exhibition.