Thursday, 30 December 2010

Collecting with an artist's eye - Hans Coper

The current ceramics exhibition 'Collecting with an artist's eye' features work by Joanna Constantinidis, Hans Coper and Lucie Rie.

Hans Coper allied himself with two groups of makers. Firstly with the anonymous potters of the distant past and of tribal cultures, whose artefacts were refined by endless repetition and who saw no separation between form and decoration. Secondly with certain twentieth century artists whose work is the result of a compulsion to get closer and closer to a basic truth. In Hans' own words, '... like a demented piano tuner one is trying to approximate a phantom pitch.' Hans Coper admired fellow artists such as Brancusi, Giacometti plus Beckett, Stravinsky and Chagall. LIke Coper they were all ex-patriates who left their home country and settled in another land where their art flourished.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Ceramics Photography

Peter Benson, a professional photographer, who photographed the modern ceramics collection, delivered the photographs to us today complete with a poster idea shown on this page. The photographs are stunning! Peter photographed over 100 ceramic pieces and took great care to produce informative and aesthetically pleasing images. Many of these artworks are currently on display in the museum and art gallery. Why not come and visit?

Friday, 26 November 2010

Pottery 'Toys'

We have three unusual ‘pots’ in the Swindon Collection of Studio Ceramics: a train set, a Volkswagen car and a row of Victorian houses all made out of clay, of course, and currently on display in the art gallery.

The train tea set by “Wez” has an engine, a tender, trucks and barrels. The engine is a tea pot. The tender and trucks act as holders for the barrels from which one can drink tea, in theory at least as this is an art gallery piece. For pottery enthusiasts the set is slip cast.

The green Volkswagen car was made by Shona Small when she was a student at Bristol College of art back in 1977. She kindly donated the piece to our collection. It is shiny dark green and black with red, orange, white and matt black enamels with silver lustre trims and black and white checks. A truly colourful object.

By contrast the derelict terrace houses are very subtly coloured and very detailed. Victorian House 1977 by Ian Beamish is a realistic sculpture of three partly demolished five-storey Victorian houses. It is painted in subtle browns, pink and green and was purchased from the potter in 1977.

Visitor Comments

I just had to share with you the most recent comments from the art gallery comments book. They include:

"Worth the train ride from Bristol. Thanks."
"A pleasure to visit this exhibition."
"It's wicked!"
"We enjoyed the children's room and making a puppet show, and this room is the biggest room I've ever seen in the world. From Freya (nearly 4)

and my favourite:

"Good use of the rates over the years"

Why not come in and share your responses with us?

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Curators choice on BBC Wiltshire

I spoke on Curators Choice this week with BBC's Graham Rogers as Sue Davies who usually presents this programme was on holiday. Curators from around Wiltshire talk about objects from their museum's in this slot every Wednesday from 2.15 p.m.

I featured a ceramic by Charles Stone from the Swindon Collection of Studio Ceramics. The piece titled Ceramic Sculpture was made in porcelain in 1979. It is tiny and merits close observation. Its dimensions are height 8.5 cm; (3.5 ins) length 9.2 cm; width 5.6 cm.

It depicts a walled, riverfront castle in front of a forest with 3 birds and a moored boat.

It is made from several different coloured clays: light brown, grey, light grey, and body-coloured porcelain clays which have been rolled, cut and delicately modelled to produce the forms. Its surface shows various impressed textures and sgraffito used for architectural and folar detail.

It is part of a currently available display called Clay and Water which will accompany the next Art Gallery exhibition The Lure of Water opening on 15 July.

Pots in Clay and Water have been chosen for their connection with St Ives, the sea, beach and boat shapes.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Christopher Easdon's Art

Today, 18th, June Chris Easdon laid out all of his pictures on the gallery floor so that they could be photographed from above. Chris wanted to be able to show all of his pictures in one shot and the gallery provided the ideal location. He told me that he started this work in May when he got his new computer. He abstracts from photographs and manipulates the images using computer software.

Chris also writes books, one of which is called 'The Wonderful World of Wobbly Bob and Muggy Sam'.

Parallel Lives with Artsite

Around 20 Artsite artists have each chosen a picture from the Swindon Collection of Modern British Art. On Friday 11 June, the artists came to the art gallery to view their chosen pictures and to read the archived information related to each artwork.

Paul Ricketts and Tim Carroll got the pictures out of the store for the viewing and I provided the accompanying information.

There was a tranquil studious atmosphere in the gallery as the artists worked. Some made drawings; other made notes. Andy Preston shot video footage while others clicked away on their mobile phones and cameras. We also photocopied photographs and texts from the folders. It was really satisfying to be able to make all these resources available to artists from our area.

Artsite artists will use their responses to the Swindon collection pictures to make their own artworks to be shown in an exhibition Parallel Lives which will be at The Post Modern gallery, Swindon in September 2010.

For further information about Artsite, visit