Press Release – Form over Function

By 11th May 2018 Press release

1 May 2018

Exciting contemporary art inside and out at Blackwell.

Visionaries of contemporary art go on show inside and outside at Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House.

An atmospheric art installation joins a dazzling array of ceramic art on display from 18 May.

Form over Function: Ceramic Art at Blackwell runs until 9 September. The exhibition challenges the notion that ceramics are primarily functional and features the greatest masters of clay. At the same time Di Mainstone’s Time Mirror installation will arrive on the lawn at Blackwell. The interactive sculpture is part of Lakes Culture’s Lakes Ignite 2018 festival.

Form over Function includes work by artists including Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, Gordon Baldwin (The Watcher 1962 pictured), Ewen Henderson, Rosemary Wren and Alison Britton.

Gordon Watson, Chief Executive Lakeland Arts, said: “Ceramics are enjoying a massive renaissance at present. Form over Function brings together an outstanding collection from the very best contemporary ceramic artists.

“Sculptural forms, painted surfaces and narrative works by some of the greatest masters of clay from the Twentieth and Twenty-First centuries will be on show. The quality and craftsmanship will excite visitors.

“This exhibition is about making art out of craft. Ranging from a playful hippo sculpture to an optical illusion box, works are themed into animals, clay as canvas, sculpture and community.

“At the same time we are thrilled Blackwell is a venue for Lakes Ignite’s Time Mirror. Artist Di Mainstone is an incredible talent. We can’t think of a better place for this work than the lawn at Blackwell – with its views over Windermere and Coniston fells.”

Through loans from Centre of Ceramic Art at York Art Gallery, our own and private collections, Form over Function explores William Morris’ saying: “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

Traditionally clay has been used to make functional things which support us in our daily lives. But over the centuries there’s been an increasing emphasis on decoration, transforming once functional designs into beautiful objects for the home.

Museums and galleries have developed large collections ranging from Chinese export ware to early designs by Josiah Wedgwood, using them as a basis for Decorative Arts collections.

Clay has transcended the function of either being ‘useful’ or ‘beautiful’ to becoming a medium of choice for artists.

While visitors view the very best modern and contemporary ceramic art inside the house, prepare to be amazed by a stunning art installation outside. Di Mainstone’s Time Mirror is an interactive sculpture, made from polished steel, that reflects Blackwell’s dramatic Lake District surroundings. The piece allows audiences of all ages to experience and capture the cultural landscape in an experimental and abstract way.

Time Mirror is ‘Blackwell Blue’ inspired by the colour blue of the peacock frieze and tiles inside Blackwell as well as the artist Yves Klein. The work will remain at Blackwell until September.

Di Mainstone said: “Participants will be at the centre of this abstract transient landscape, and will be able to create their own unique experience, which can be captured using their own mobile phone or camera.”

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