Contained | Contenu: Volume Realised Through Clay and Glass

Much has been written on the story of sculptural ceramics since the nineteenth century. From Gauguin and Picasso to the collector’s pieces of Bernard Leach and the British Studio Ceramic Movement, through to American Expressionism, installation and performance - ceramic artists have continuously challenged accepted norms and altered perceptions. Frequently referencing the broad traditions of craft, they have taken the opportunity to reinterpret, subvert or even exist beyond these traditions as each generation has felt, according to Edmund de Waal, “the complexity and expansion of the field for themselves, turning away from the past, doubting the previous generation’s ability to renew the art of ceramics.”1 But as we settle into the 21st Century it has become increasingly clear that, whatever tropes emerge, ceramics is now, as Paul Gauguin once famously declared, “a central art.” Today’s ceramic artists apply their skills in continually new and exciting ways, addressing ideas and exploring conceptual concerns in ways their predecessors could never have imagined and people are paying attention to this evolution; as is evidenced by the increasing presence of ceramics in established galleries, at international art fairs, and in the media.