The Barony Centre, West Kilbride, Craft Town Scotland
14th August 2015 - 11th October 2015
Presenting works by makers and designers who use craft for social comment and provocation
With the focus on makers who ‘use craft as a platform for social comment and provocation’, the exhibition is a partnership between Berwick Visual Arts, the Crafts Council and artist Doug Jones. The exhibition includes one of the artist's most recent pieces Generation. The work comprises 54 pairs of cast chicken feet individually finished by Jones and a team of workers in a bronze foundry in southern China and explores several social aspects linked to its production, including the concept of fair trade and ethics in manufacturing and the correct sourcing and processing of materials, while respecting the tradition and authenticity of the craft employed.
In response to Jones’s politically and socially driven installation, 11 objects from the Crafts Council Collection have been selected. The pieces introduce socio-political subjects; covering societal injustice, subversion, propaganda, remembrance, monetary value and economy in materials and production methods.
Work by Stephen Dixon, Grayson Perry and Paul Scott represents the tradition of satirical ceramics, from Dixon’s comment on Iraq War in Their Finest Hour to Scott’s more recent A Willow for Ai Weiwei, referencing the Chinese artist’s detainment at the hands of the authorities. Grayson Perry's ceramic pot Mad Kid’s Bedroom Wall, is a glazed and embossed ceramic vessel depicting a teenager’s bedroom. The multiple and conflicting layers of imagery evoke a sense of menace, telling the story of an adolescent boy in isolation.
Elsewhere Michele Walker’s Remember Me is a traditional ‘darts of death’ quilt brought up to date with Breast Cancer Campaign ribbons, while the value of material is questioned in Lois Walpole’s basketry and Michael Marriott’s furniture. Hundreds and Thousands is a neckpiece by jewellery maker Angela O’Kelly formed from circular cut-outs from the Financial Times which have been meticulously strung together. The use of paper, a non-precious material, emphasises the importance of workmanship and imagination over the mere value of materials.
Also on display is work by Karen Thompson selected from a call for submissions to Berwick Visual Arts by makers based in the North East. Thompson’s ceramic trilogy comments on contemporary social issues, including hunting and the food chain.