These are some photos I took of my favourite works from “Surface”, a show of Margaret Curtis’ work currently on at the Contemporary Ceramics Centre in Bloomsbury.
When looking at ceramics I instinctively jump straight to drawing links between the clay form and the human form. I can’t help it, it’s my primary method for interacting with and understanding ceramic work. One of the things that attracts me to Margaret’s work is the fleshy quality I see in some of her pieces. Areas of pink seem to sit just below the surface, showing through from underneath the white, softened and diffused, visible almost in spite of the white. These remind me of bruising, of flesh that has been mistreated, but where the skin has not been broken. An injury, but not quite a wound.
This is in contrast to some of Margaret’s other pieces which display marks more typical of a wound, a breaking of the white surface glaze layers to the dark clay body underneath. On some pieces the “wounds” look almost like something bursting out of a body, of an inner force pushing outwards, the clay ripping and tearing. Others are a reverse of this, the marks more clearly coming from the outside, breaking the thicker surface glaze more cleanly, like stab wounds. There is a photo of Curtis in the show, in which she is pictured making incisions into one of the pieces, wielding her wooden tool like a weapon.
Surface is on at the Contemporary Ceramics Centre in Bloomsbury until September 14th.