The next exhibition in the Jerwood Visual Arts’ Encounters series will be curated by The Grantchester Pottery, an artist collaboration between sculptor Giles Round and painter Phil Root that takes the structural framework of an artist’s decorative arts studio, itself drawing on the historical precedent of Roger Fry’s Omega Workshops. Its manifesto, is to substitute the directly expressive quality of the artist’s handling for the deadness of mechanical reproduction.
The collaboration has developed along a fictitious history, but its product is very much material. It creates utilitarian ceramics together with decorative household items such as printed textiles, wallpaper, painted furniture and hand painted murals, and looks for inspiration in Grantchester as a historic meeting place for writers, poets, artists and philosophers.
In this exhibition works by The Grantchester Pottery’s associated artists, Michael Fullerton, Sophie Von Hellermann, Maria Loboda, Anne Low, Dietmar Lutz, Edwin Pickstone, Phil Root, Giles Round, Cally Spooner and Sam Windett will be presented together for the first time, as a work of theatre. Framed by an adaptable stage set designed by the company and in keeping with the convention of stage theatre, all works will face the same vantage point, towards a hypothetical audience. The visitor enters centre stage – surrounded by printed fabric, paintings, tapestries, ceramics, sculpture, and three large scale murals – and is immersed in the set of a three-act melodrama singularly aligned for an ideal and impossible vista.
Jerwood Encounters: The Grantchester Pottery Paints the Stage, 16 January – 22 February 2015, Jerwood Space, 171 Union St, London SE1 0LN.
1. Image courtesy of The Grantchester Pottery.