The Jerwood Makers Open is an initiative to promote the “significance of making and materials within contemporary visual arts”. This reads like a broad remit but an emphasis on craft based work is a unifying theme within the show. Whether they have been hammered, stitched, glazed, woven or cast, these objects are the results of a process of physical labour. They are also almost all non-representational and non-decorative in the traditional sense. The artworks included in this exhibition marry conceptual subject matter with craft and hand worked processes.
This new exhibition presents specially commissioned works by artists Mark Corfield-Moore, Forest + Found (Max Bainbridge and Abigail Booth), Lucie Gledhill, Bethan Lloyd Worthington and Tana West. These artists were selected by Jerwood Arts who run competitions to support and develop emerging artists’ practises and development.
Tana West makes ceramic works which deal with social, political and historical issues. Her work ‘Through a Glass Darkly’ dominates gallery one of the Jerwood Space. The piece is a large framed box which includes several circular and rectangular shaped ceramic works tied in place from the outside. The ceramic works are all glazed in black and have a variety of textures which offer different degrees of visibility. The bold vertical bars of the box and the floating ceramic shapes feel like they draw on minimalism or even the work of constructivist painters. Inside the box the reflected distortions stand as a metaphor for the feeling of uncertainty and anxiety in society today.
The smell of ink and burnt wood are instantly noticeable in the second gallery where the work of Forest+Found is on display. Forest+Found are artists Max Bainbridge and Abigail Booth. They have created an installation called ‘The Subjective Element’ which includes sculpted wooden vessels and wall mounted textile pieces. The works in the installation are made with raw materials and aim to highlight sustainability and the natural world.
Artist Bethan Lloyd Worthington has created an assemblage of ceramic objects to create a new wall based composition called ‘Making all the greens unstable’. She has used experimental glazes, slipware and dendritic mochaware processes with a focus on green to explore poetry, art and current events. The mixed ceramic objects are arranged to create a visual narrative which directly challenges environmental issues.
The final room showcases the work of artists Lucie Gledhill and Mark Corfiel-Moore. Lucie presents ‘Chain’, a series of wooden, iron and silver sculptural form laid out in size order in a row. The sculptural forms are based on chain links usually found in jewellery. Lucie has used each form as a template to produce the next link in the series so as to create an endless chain in production. Mark explores the process of weaving in three new pieces displayed here. These works are influenced by traditions of weaving from Thailand and Scotland as well as Japanese wood block printing. These pieces explore the theme of fireworks and their relationship to time, memory and the history of textiles.
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