Thursday, 30 August 2007

Conceptual Craft

So I ran across an interesting interview with the artists Clare Twomney and David Cushway in the latest issue of CRAFTS: The Magazine for Contemporary Craft.

Both were speaking about their practice and conceptual approaches to the medium. Most of the statements were interesting and thought provoking, although I did take a bit of offense to a comment made by Twomney which stated (and perhaps out of context) that she was "interested in big ideas, revolutionary ideas, and that comes from the world of drawing and painting, not using ceramics." (pg.22, Crafts, July/Aug 07) I'm not sure where to begin at this point in the defense of ceramics as a revolutionary medium equivalent to painting or drawing. This discussion demands far more than a simplistic blog entry at this point, but I'd love to hear what others have to say about the comment, as I hope to return to this in greater detail at a later point.

Clare Twomney: Housewares and Shoal

I've long admired the works of both artists, how they interact with the rich history of ceramics and art to produce works that are not only conceptually strong, but technically proficient as well. For without technical proficiency the works would suffer visually. Both have worked with the medium in an ephemeral manner allowing for the the transformation of the material either physically, or it's transformation while in exhibition, inform and guide the work and audience. An example would be Cushway's Sublimation piece, in which the disintegration of the object, rather than the static permanence of the object is that which speaks volumes. And Twomney has allowed the audience the control of the work, through their engagement in theft of the work to give the piece meaning in Trophy (2006), wherein the gallery contained 4000 Wedgewood produced Bluebirds, which the public were encouraged to covet and take.

David Cushway: Sublimation

The conversation in the interview between both artists also discussed the importance of collaboration in their practices, between them and other artists, their audiences, industry, etc.

It's a short few page piece and if you can get your hands on it, it's interesting enough for the few minutes it takes to read it. I particularly like when Cushway speaks about seeing Antony Gormley on tv and how he refers to sculpture "as a stillness in a constantly changing world." (pg 24, Crafts, July/Aug 07) I like the peacefulness of that statement.


gerry said...

What's the "big idea".This comment cerrtainly opens up a can of worms vis-a-vis the old debate.I actually thought the big ideas came from science and technology. What about the small ideas? The ones that matter.Quotes taken out of context can be problematic,but this seems to be a case of hierarchical rather than informed judgement. Whilst there certainly are ceramic touchstones in Twomneys work, it does seem to have more in common with the interventions of someone like Catherine Bertola.
I'm going to be mulling this over all day.

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