300 years old and looking good! I spent a wonderful morning yesterday with my BFF, Viv, in the Bluecoat Gallery and Display Centre. Memories of previous visits with my arty friend, Linda. On our last visit she told me she had cancer. We’d arranged to go again on the week she died. She’d have enjoyed the exhibitions.
To celebrate the tricentennial, the gallery had works by over 100 artists who had previously exhibited there. Here are three I found interesting:
Merisa Rueda 1976 Nothing can frighten the man who hopes for nothing [glazed earthenware]
Rueda is a sculptor who has been foregrounding the political situation in her home country, Argentina, for many years, and was part of the women’s movement in art in the 1980s. She showed in Women’s Images of Men, which caused the WMMs of the Telegragh to get their underpants in a twist in 1980/81. Being Prime Minister is one thing, taking photographs, painting and sculpting quite another. Who do these ‘so-called ladies’ think they are?
Is this the female mouth that’s found a voice, or a female genitalia with teeth? Female perception, male ‘hoper’ perception, I guess.
Tony Hayward 1985 Kitchen Sink Drama Assemblage
I like the colours, the gentle humour and the idea of collecting lots of bits and bobs, then seeing what one could make from them, pot of glue in hand. Irons, vessels and bowls seem to be a feature of today.
Jacqueline Morreau 1982 She Who Spins
Morreau was one of the co-curators of Women’s Images of Men. She died last year. I’m not sure that I like this drawing, but I think it’s well executed and intriguing. It may have sculptural possibilities – ideas to play with.
Bluecoat Display Centre
We then went through the garden to the Bluecoat Display Centre. It’s not a large space, but it was packed with fabulous ceramics.
Lanty Ball: prizewinning display of the Carter Preston Prize, 2016
Who couldn’t love Lanty’s beautifully crafted bowls? Seems he not only won the official prize, but also the public vote to be displayed in the Bluecoat window this year. Go Lanty! Hi new work is equally gorgeous, with surface texture created by extreme shellac resist, and tracery formed by a type of inlay technique. He’s a wizard at throwing, too.
Helima Cassell carved bowls, and Susan O’Byrne bird
Helima Cassell is another UCLan alumni who isn’t doing too badly for herself. She hadn’t been self employed very long when I first saw her work – absolutely stunning! Wish I’d bought one then. I’ve been to 3 artist talks since, and it’s interesting to see how her work is evolving. Can’t afford a bowl, but I do have some of her wallpaper.
I haven’t seen a Susan O’Byrne’s work in the flesh before, so it was good to take a close look. She builds an armature from nichrome wire and layers it with porcelain. The result reminds me of papier mache. Seems fragile, but probably isn’t. He’s a dear little chap.
Display case: David and Margaret Frith, Tall pot: John Leach, Green vessels: Emily Myers, Burnished Terra Sigilliata: Duncan Ross
There was a large display of David and Margaret Frith’s work, some dating from 1980. They’ve been critisised for remaining true to their oriental origins, but it’s clear that their style has evolved. When we visited their Pottery, David said they test glazes constantly, not just for consistency but for new glazes. And this is apparent.
Besides, the Leach influence is still inspiring new potters. James Hake was also represented at the Display Centre – here’s a photo of his work I took at Blackwell earlier in the week:
James Hake Oriental inspired work, Blackwell House 2017
Other works I liked or found interesting included pieces by: