‘Material Landscape’ features new works by six artist-makers that simultaneously challenge and embrace the potential of their material, interrogating the limits and possibilities of clay, wood, metal and stone. Through a dedication to process, the works explore the fluid dialogue between material and maker, form and function.
Among the objects on display, Jack Doherty expands on the historical and cultural significance of the ceramic vessel through his refined soda firing practice; Daniel Freyne’s muscular metal sculptures question volume and weight, whilst Nancy Fuller’s forms in clay reveal a deeply personal connection with place.
The works initiate a response to the physicality of form and a re-evaluate our relationship to the three-dimensional world, often informed by locally sourced materials and a deep connection to the spiritual.
Anthony Bryant is a Cornish wood artist creating sculptural forms with a lithe and subtle sensibility. With over 40 years of experience, Bryant demonstrates an ever-evolving style that continually seeks to surpass functionality. Working with native species, Bryant seeks to exploit and reveal the natural characteristics inherent in the wood, stretching the potential of the material in scale and depth.
Anthony Bryant is internationally recognised for his unsurpassed work in unseasoned woodturning. His work can be found in museum collections internationally, from the V&A Museum, London, UK, to the Liverpool Museum & Art Gallery UK and the Sainsbury Collection, Norwich, UK.
Predominantly working in marble and limestone, Samuel Collins’ work is informed by a curiosity for the natural world, surrealist forms and his pursuit to find a balance between space, mass and materiality. His latest works reflect the abstracted anomalies shaped by nature and incorporate a range of materials that can offer a second purpose as sculpture, such as discarded building stones pulled from local churches or reclaimed limestone masonry. Using a variety of carving methods, Collins works with stone as part of a collaborative exchange with the material itself. Veins, patterns and imperfections inform his intentions with each block. As part of an ongoing exploration into local landscapes, Collins explores quarries and stone yards to acquire what is often deemed as waste or lost through the machining process.
Samuel Collins recently graduated in 2019, having studied Design & Craft at University of Brighton, UK. He now works from his studio on the edge of Dungeness Nature Reserve.
Alexander de Vol is an artist maker based in Lancashire, North West England. Working with unseasoned locally felled trees, his practice represents an ongoing investigation into the material properties of wood, as well as its transferal into other states. For deVol, the process of change that the wood goes through as it dries is essential; his skillful, alchemic artistry transforms surface perception, the outcome of which is an object sculpted by both maker and material. His vessel forms with their swollen bellied rightness embody and suggest an almost human quality. Alexander deVol studied Design at the University of Central Lancashire.
His previous exhibitions include ‘Dunhill’s The Home of Craftmanship’, London, UK (2017); ‘Making It Now’, Ruthin Craft Centre, Ruthin, Wales, UK (2017) and ‘Burberry Makers House’, London, UK (2017).
Irish potter Jack Doherty’s work explores the layers of cultural resonance embedded within archetypal forms and vessels. Made using one clay body, one mineral and a single firing technique, Doherty’s refinement of process enables him to obtain a multi-layering of surface texture and colour, whilst remaining true to its form. In an atmospheric infusion between copper and porcelain, the soda kiln reveals subtle nuances of colour and texture.
Jack Doherty’s ceramic vessels are represented in many public collections including the Irish Contemporary Ceramics Collection at the Hunt Museum, Limerick, the National Museum of Ireland, and the Ulster Museum, Northern Ireland. In 2016 he received the Janet Mansfield Memorial Award in recognition of his work with soda-fired porcelain. In 2016 Doherty was invited as Artist in Residence at the Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art, Japan. In 2020, he was selected as a finalist for the LOEWE Foundation craft prize. He currently works from his home studio in Cornwall and is resident potter at the Newlyn School of Art, UK.
Pushing the boundaries of perception, blacksmith Daniel Freyne is a Scottish artist questioning the symbolism of the vessel. Freyne aims to demonstrate the limitless potential of contemporary craft by changing the viewer’s perspective of his chosen material, iron. By adopting archetypal forms, he reinterprets metal work, creating cracks and fissures throughout the surface. What seems solid and impenetrable, can be seen as deceptively fragile and open.
After a five-year blacksmithing apprenticeship at Ratho Byres Forge, Edinburgh, Scotland, he enrolled in a bachelor’s degree at Gothenburg University, Sweden, to study Fine Art, specialising in Metal Art. He was represented by Craft Scotland for Collect 2020, and participated in Future Heritage at Decorex 2021, curated by Corinne Julius.
Nancy Fuller is Taiwanese by birth and was raised in Scotland. After training as a printmaker, she discovered wood-fired ceramics, drawn to the elemental nature and beauty of the process. She creates traditional moon jar forms which are then wood-fired in an anagama kiln, authentically dug out from the mountainside. For Fuller the firing process is a moment of affirmation – ‘you act, and the fire responds, acknowledging your existence in the world’. Formed from earth and born from fire, Fuller’s work inherently talks of a specific landscape, a time of year and herself, as maker. The making process, unchanged for centuries, imbues the work with a timeless quality.
Nancy Fuller’s has exhibited both in the UK and globally, including TEN, Edinburgh, Scotland, (2021) and Princes Wharf One, Tasmania, Australia, (2019). Since April 2022, she has been undertaking a residency with Township 10 in North Carolina, USA.
Image: (left) Samuel Collins, Untitled Objects, 2021 and (right) Alexander deVol, Erode, 2022. Photos: Samuel Collins and Alexander deVol