Clay Is My Canvas

by New Brewery Arts | Cirencester

Explorations of how contemporary ceramic artists use painterly or illustrative techniques on clay are few and far between; in studies of ceramics these elements often get dismissed as merely ‘decoration’, even when looking at Italian maiolica made during the Renaissance or the painted ceramics of Picasso or Marc Chagall. The nature of under-glaze, slip, lustre and glazes give an artist a myriad of possibilities to deploy techniques from painting and illustration on a clay canvas, with several artists slipping seamlessly between painting on canvas and painting on clay.

Clay Is My Canvas is an exhibition exploring a snapshot of different techniques used across ceramics that have their roots in painting and illustration by a select group of contemporary artists. From the almost Abstract Expressionism of Emily Gibbard and Eddie Knevett to the tight illustrative control of Ian Thompson and Jihye Han, these are artists who have chosen to use clay as their medium to present their visual language.

Some of the artists featured, like Rafaela de Ascanio and Tom Norris, are completely comfortable drifting between clay and other materials, including painting on canvas and working with textiles, as part of their wider artistic practice. The perceived boundaries that existed between a hierarchy of mediums as recently as the late 1990s are being erased by the next generation of artists.

Featured artists
Nehal Aamir / Jesse Albrecht / Rafaela de Ascanio / Megan Burridge/ Claire Curneen / Emily Gibbard / Jihye Han / Yeonsoo Kim / Eddie Knevett / Tom Norris / Jasmine Simpson / Ian Thompson