RICHARD STRATTON: LIVING HISTORY, INSTALLATION VIEW. COURTESY OF THE DOWSE ART MUSEUM. PHOTO JOHN LAKE.
This exhibition explores how Stratton’s well known, intricate teapots and figurative representations have evolved into enigmatic, sculptural forms. Melding together small slabs of clay until they feel balanced and ‘right’, Stratton’s gradual, stream of conscious manner of making means each new piece can take over a month to complete. His final compositions draw from his immediate environment: abstracted representations of his daily life as both an artist and a stay-at-home father. Blending his insights on everyday experience with European ceramic histories and Modernist art movements, Stratton asks us to consider links between past and present.
“Internationally, ceramics has played a key role to unlocking human history, helping us to date our growth via fragments of clay. New Zealand’s industrial ceramic history was based upon techniques reflected in sherds (pieces) I found while mudlarking on the Thames. These sherds are examples of processes our ceramic predecessors were influenced by and became the backbone of early New Zealand pottery. Living History melds these processes with new forms that consider negative space through the lens of modernist movements such as Cubism, Constructivism and Brutalism, which began to influence my practice during my residency in Guldagergaard, Denmark in early 2016.”
This exhibition combines the benefits of a simple installation with broad audience appeal and the chance to support a New Zealand object artist as they build a broader national audience.