‘common ground’ presents works by two highly acclaimed makers: Nic Webb, an artist working with wood and clay, and Akiko Hirai, a ceramicist nominated for this year‘s Loewe Craft Prize.
Nic Webb uses a combination of traditional skills and less conventional, experimental processes, to explore the values and narratives of contemporary craft. For ‘common ground’, Webb will create a cohesive, engaging and readable display of wood and ceramic vessels and sculptural works. The work will relate to the scale and environment of the gallery space at Make and primarily be made with materials collected from the fields and woodlands of Durslade Farm – the site of Hauser & Wirth Somerset. Webb recognises these crafted objects as both decorative, domestic forms that can enhance and offer composition to the spaces in which we live, but that also can convey a sense of the larger, physical world, highlighting our emotional and spiritual connection with it.
Akiko Hirai is a ceramicist making decorative artworks and tableware. Using Japanese pottery techniques to create contemporary ceramics, her forms are simple and satisfying, with deeply textured surfaces featuring calm, cool colours. Hirai’s work is an exploration of contrast; the juxtaposition of coarse clay and translucent glaze. Her skilful manipulation of both is exposed to the alchemy of the kiln, ensuring that every piece is unique and celebrates imperfection and chance. Hirai’s intention is to express the condition of progress in her work; something ambiguous, unsettled and imaginative, so that the viewer sees the journey the object has taken, from raw clay to firing.
For ‘common ground’ Hirai is using Somerset apple tree wood ash for her glaze, which has been produced by Make Hauser & Wirth Somerset’s director Jacqueline Moore. Hirai sees this as not only a collaboration between herself and Moore, but also with the trees themselves.
‘I believe that when you are producing something, whether it is made out of clay or wood, whether songs, written language, performance whatever it may be, our feelings reflect on to the piece. This occurs perhaps not only with us, but also with any living creatures. Trees living in a wood receive a lot of information from their surroundings and it may even be feeling something. We do not have a common language, but we may be receiving their language in different forms’.
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