O F F E R I N G S
‘In a world dominated by commercialism and technology, where pressure is on instant results, I enjoy the meditative nature of allowing the form to evolve with handwork, imagination and human labour, using the most primitive and natural material available: the earth itself.’
Scottish ceramicist Lorraine Robson makes beautiful, thought-provoking works that pay homage to ancient and primitive skills, while embracing contemporary influences. Not designed as functional, her hand-built pieces, often dictated by the classic vessel form, are made from a kaleidoscope of influences from throughout time. In this stunning exhibition of recent works, Lorraine shows elegant individual pieces as well as intriguing collaborations with contemporary craft makers Lise Bech, Black, Molly Ginnelly and Liz Myhill. The vessel is the most simple and most secretive of sculptural forms: it both creates and encloses the vacuum at its centre. Robson’s work capitalizes upon the secret quality of the vessel, with many of her works concealing hidden and precious ‘offerings’.
The vessels are pristine in line and finish; they have an aesthetic purity that belies their hand-crafted origins. Robson’s extraordinary process takes the vessels through multiple firings, glazes and polishes, each building to the final, glowing surface. Her reductive palette of slate, ivory, terracotta and blood red is both earthy and intensely human. It is reminiscent of rock and earth, blood and bone.
This is interesting in the context of the conceptual underpinning of ‘Offerings’, which draws upon prehistoric artifacts and ritual. Many of the objects on exhibition harbour secret gifts within. Slice I and Slice II hold ornate concealed blades within their pure, feminine forms. In the window, the gleaming red urn holds within it a beautiful oxidized silver necklace made by Molly Ginnelly. Kelp, on a low plinth in the centre of the gallery, sees beautiful ceramic forms linked by Liz Myhill’s printed silk scarf. These ‘offerings’ have a poetic quality, linking them both to the natural world and to the ritual and sacrifice of the ancient world.
|Constantin Brancusi. The Newborn. 1920. Bronze.|
Much of Robson’s research took place at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, such as the countless drawings of birds and beaks which fed into ‘Pecking Order’, the installation on the gallery wall, and the ‘Be Still Life’ group of several vase forms, each based on the compact bodies of birds with their wings drawn close. This abstraction from nature is reminiscent of the interwar heyday of Modern sculpture, when artists such as Brancusi, Hepworth and Moore drew heavily on biology, organicism and evolutionary form to create a sculptural practice of enduring and monumental simplicity. Robson’s ceramics are as much sculpture as they are craft; they have a clear link to this mode of practice.
Robson's exhibition will be on display until late August. The gallery is open 10am-5pm Monday-Saturday. please find us on facebook to find out more about current projects, exhibitions and opportunities:
If you would like to see some of the secrets of the work revealed, please ask at the gallery desk and we will be happy to show you.
Price list available on request