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Stalwarts Exhibition review by Pheobe Thomas

Written by Bluecoat Display Centre | Posted on: March 6, 2017

I’m Phoebe, as I’m interested in craft, the Display Centre has always intrigued me; it demonstrates the distinct art styles of local artists, as well as how they have developed in their specialist area. At the moment, the exhibition on display is Stalwarts.

The art of ceramics expertly combines practicality with aesthetic beauty, for pieces that have longstanding value. The ‘Stalwarts’ show focuses on this traditional craft, with an array of national artists – who all have long standing connections with the Display Centre – showcased for their deft ability and attention to form.

Available to see for free until the 18th of March, the show is comprised of a display of new collections from ceramicists John Leach, John Ward, David and Margaret Frith, Emily Myers, Duncan Ross and Gabriele Koch. Though all artists use similar materials and processes, the outcomes are stunning and varied, allowing all to thoroughly enjoy this display.

Pieces range from the rugged, natural lines and hues of John Leach’s pottery, which are hand-thrown and thus have a ‘toasted’ finish, to sea-like poetry of David and Margaret Frith, with their soft sheen and abstract shapes. Emily Myers is another ceramicist who uses blues in her work, pairing it with sea-foam green to create distinctive shell-like forms that are natural and freeform. Perhaps you may be more inclined to the pottery of Gabriele Koch, which captivated me with its muted, dappled images that seem to co-operate with nature. Juxtaposing this are John Ward’s pieces, which mainly feature geometric shapes with contrasting colours. Duncan Ross’s heavy use of burnt orange is evocative of Ancient Greek pots; a conjunction between the ancient world and the modern one, these vibrant pieces are striking to observe.

There are pieces available for purchase, yet the quality of the work displayed means that they are selling fast; if there is a particular piece that catches your eye, which I am sure at least one piece will, be sure that you do not miss out. From kitchenware to decorative pieces, this show exhibits pieces that can be seen purely as art in their own right; however, their uses – however mundane or ingenious they may be – cannot be disregarded. This expertly curated show is a wonderful demonstration of how the art of ceramics is being kept alive by national artists today.

For more information please contact Bluecoat Display Centre on 0151 709 4014 or email crafts@bluecoatdisplaycentre.com.

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