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PREVIEW: Friday 1 March, from 6pm, free event. BOOK PLACE
ARTISTS SUPPER: Friday 1 March, 7:30pm. SOLD OUT
Aligning with Messums’ special interest in active environmentalism, the gallery is pleased to present a group exhibition of ceramic artists that interrogate and are inspired by the material of clay as an earthly material and a planetary resource, considering the environmental and ecological impact of their practice.
The raw material of clay is abundant and richly varied across the globe. The surviving archaeological record shows clay being formed into objects such as figurines, vessels, and architecture, from as far back as 30,000 years ago. As such, it has and continues to play a crucial role within the ceremonies and routines of our birth, life and death cycles, whether domestic or ritual customs and its ubiquity within our own lives across time and geography makes it a material easy to take for granted.
But the ceramic medium enacts a heavy toll on the earth, both artistically and industrially, from mining clay and glaze elements to energy consuming kiln firings. It must be recognised that every ceramic object, fired into permanence exists as a debt to the earth, a chunk of raw material extracted and forever changed, not to be returned to its former state.
‘of the Earth’ explores these connections of raw clay and fired ceramic with the earth, the body and time. This group of artists explore the potential for unadorned clay and ceramic, some that make statements on the global richness of clay, others revelling in the raw materials’ performative interactivity, some describing the opposing fragility and firmness of its different states. Each manifests the importance of clay within our lives, from utility to infinity. Many do so with a sense of responsibility, aware of the deep history of making with clay whilst cautious of the future of such an industry and our planet along with it.
Artists include: William Cobbing, Halima Cassell, Nina Salsotto Cassina, Adam Buick (pictured top), Charly Blackburn, and Claudia Barreira.