The Easel

1st October 2019

Reconsidering Ceramics Iconoclast Peter Voulkos at Burning in Water

A visit to Black Mountain College was Voulkos’ first exposure to New York abstraction. What an impact! He set about redefining ceramics, discarding many of its established practices. In particular, what some regarded as flaws he saw as “spontaneous creative accidents.” Voulkos wasn’t thinking pots anymore but rather expressionist sculpture. He was re-inventing American post-war ceramics.  A video (1 min) is here.

24th September 2019

Mona Hatoum interview: ‘If everything is predictable, then it’s not interesting’

Hatoum was studying in London when stranded by war in her native Lebanon. Her work is not a literal replaying of her experience of displacement. Nonetheless, a theme that pervades many works is precariousness. “I’m really interested in modern ruins … even those structures that are supposed to be solid, to contain you, they can collapse.” Last week, Hatoum was announced as a Praemium Imperiale winner.

Sir Antony Gormley’s art explores an interior realm

Gormley’s trademark work is the expressionless metal body form. Often based on molds of his own body, these figures appear in all sorts of situations, most famously his Angel of the North atop a hill in northern England. One view of a large survey show is that it is “too unfocused, and ultimately too polite”. The more positive view is that Gormley’s work is a sustained exploration of the body as a place “of memory, emotion and imagination”.