As usual, I think a lot of things about it. I thought, 'Who is doing Betty Woodman impressions!'
'Oh, hey look, it's Betty Woodman doing Betty Woodman with remnants of Laotian fabrics.'
Then I lived with them for a bit in my mind, and they began to delight me. But she always has delighted me.
I think the masses in the field of ceramics run the risk of repeating the crimes (and I use the term relatively loosely) of the past when they turn their noses up at shows like this. Is the current generation of ceramist going to be like the allegorical realists who scoffed at Whistler? at Gauguin?
What I believe is this: these artists are not bound by a deified respect for the material. The makers in Paul Clay are chewing up the material and spitting it out in mostly guttural ways. I do believe such a process is the best way to find the limits of a medium and that when restraint is displayed in this particular exhibition, it seems to be coming from the artists who are most familiar with the material.
The curatorial statement, says much the same, 'These artists play dirty, unafraid to push their material.'
I believe a lot of working ceramists, think they are pushing material, but more often than not it's just a dance within established parameters. Even when the dance is lovely and eloquent, it's often not breaking new ground. Then when the majority seems to believe innovation is invoked, it's only innovative within the field of ceramics and not the field of art.
It's necessary to let those who can macerate and/or eviscerate the material. Then we might learn something new. It won't always be pleasant to watch. Our sensibilities will be tried most certainly!
SO! My friend what do you think?
Oh, and my faves? Definitely Betty Woodman, but also: Raphael de Villers, Takuro Kuwata, William J OBrien and, of course, Andrew Lord
Still not sure I can get my head around the likes of Naoki Koide though."