“Paint is laid on paint, mark is laid on mark. The subject becomes less important as the painting progresses. Often the sheer thickness of the paint, between the small valleys and crags of paint add to the paradox of realised space. Sometimes the subject is formed by the drama of colour – forms caught up in the method of paint laid upon paint. Often in the painting I invent visual ideas and images that are summoned up by the automatic gesture, where the marks have no specific reference purpose. It is a play of mind and imagination”
Virginia Leonard only came across ceramics just a few years ago and explores relationships between expressionist painting with ceramics. Her large, variously capped and colourful, layered vessels laced with resin, are strong and visceral objects that look as though they came together simply by instinct. Both seen on her painting and her clay viscosities, often mimicking organs, revealing something that we know of, but is unseen.
Virginia’s addition of resin looks fresh and offers tempting drips that beg to be touched by fingers, (to see if they’re as flexible as they appear) often seen in her painting but solutions to the curiosity aroused by additions of some decal images is added, although some links to the domestic via what has been the most widely used and imitated design for domestic tableware is tentatively there.
The American clay expression often intentionally looks poorly made. Led by artists such as Nicole Cherubini, Beverley Semmes and Arlene Sechet it is characterised by an irreverence for technique and messy, loose handling often typified by heavily fingered coiling and surfaces left spontaneous with supporting casually made plinths of plywood or reinforcing steel rod that can resemble workshop detritus but are a part of the work. Forms are influenced by traditional ceramic objects but also defy them by mocking domesticity using pot forms only as shapes rather than objects that are useful. Sometimes lustred all over and sometimes draped with junk jewellery or bedecked by small handles that could not possibly lift the vessel.