Here we are in the heart of summer and delighted that we are now well into our featured maker programme. We are particularly pleased that, after some time since he last showed his work here, John Pollex has accepted our invitation to feature this month. The painterly quality of his ceramics is outstanding and whilst he says that he was influenced by painters such as Howard Hodgkin, Patrick Heron and Ben Nicholson he is nevertheless an original and distinctive maker. The colour combinations and the evident freedom of application confirm his status in the ceramic sector as well as his reputation for three-dimensional abstraction. I have always admired his work and the opportunity to have it in my hand again is a great pleasure. I need hardly say that John adds much vibrancy and colour in a pandemic year that has often lacked both.
One of the interesting aspects of John’s history is that until the 1980’s he was a respected maker of traditional slipware. In 1981 he was invited to take part in a lecture tour of New Zealand with the contemporary American ceramicist Don Reitz. The bold use of colour in the work of Reitz excited him – compared with the muted tones of celadons, tenmokus and honey glazes back in Britain. It was at that point that his work took a completely different direction.
It is also a pleasure to advise that we have new work from a number of other makers.
Patrick O’Donohue is a new maker to Bevere. He trained as a ceramic artist and potter over 25 years ago. He studied at Wolverhampton University from 1989, gaining a BA Hons in 3D Design Ceramics and later he returned to complete a Masters Degree in Art and Design. He has had numerous exhibitions locally and regionally and has worked in post 16 Education since 1995, initially as a full-time teacher of Art and Ceramics, and then as Head of Art and Design for 8 years. Though his career in education has moved in new directions, he has always quietly continued to explore creative ideas through sketchbook studies and more recently again through clay. His current ceramic work is developed directly from drawings of landscape and the endless possibilities in natural forms, textures and colours. He makes wheel thrown and hand-built ceramics using an extensive range of mark making, drawing and painting techniques to create individual and expressive decorative pieces.
Amy Jackson has new work here which as always is inspired by nature’s ever-changing landscape and offers a chance to appreciate and admire the individuality and the uniqueness evoked by the great outdoors. In a bid to capture elements of mother nature’s beauty and honesty, no two pieces in this bespoke collection are identical and instead offer the viewer an opportunity to curate their own landscape out of the shapes and textures presented.
Melanie Keevil has also let us have new work. She makes ceramic wall panels and vessels layered with richly coloured slips and glazes and then, stoneware fired to 1260°. These abstract pieces are inspired by the colours, surface textures and weathered architectural details found in the hilltop towns and mountains of Provence. Other pieces are inspired by the rock formations and coastlines of the Cornish and Welsh landscapes.
Hilke MacIntyre has been showing with us for some time. Her work uses a simplified figurative style with strong abstract pattern. Her influences are ‘primitive’ art, early 20th Century European art and contemporary design. The limited-edition ceramic reliefs are made in editions of 50. An original design is formed in clay from which a plaster mould is made. Into the mould new slabs of soft clay are pressed to create an identical relief. After a first lower firing in a kiln, the reliefs are individually glazed so that each looks slightly different. They are then fired again at a high temperature. Each tile is numbered and signed.