The pleasures of the Flesh

I recently paid a visit to the lovely medieval walled city of York. Part of the reason for my visit was to see the newly refurbished  Art gallery. York now hosts the Center for the Ceramic Arts, and I wanted to see how they had transformed the gallery space and what was in the collection itself. I was not disappointed. Having a real passion for ceramics I was deeply impressed by the outstanding collection they have on display. The ceramic center itself is situated on the upper floor of the building, as soon as you enter the second floor you are met with an instillation piece. A structure covered in Bowls . Communities of helpers within York and beyond have assisted the artist Claire Twomey in the production of the bowls. Each bowl takes an hour to make and represents one of the 10,000 hours it is said to take to become a master craftsman.Its pretty impressive and awe inspiring when you think about it that way. There are also cases all around this room, displaying ceramics by some of the worlds best know potters, my particular favorites being those by Lucie Rie, James Tower and Hans Coper. These cabinets are full of pots with personality. Quiet pots, loud pots, huge and tiny pots weird and wonderful pots, reflecting the makers own individual quirkiness and skill in working with his wonderfully versatile material we call clay.  The back gallery features a rainbow wall of pots categorizing  by colour. Touch screens enable you to locate and find information about each individual piece on display.





Pottery is at once the simplest and the most difficult of all arts’
Herbert Read, 1931

The adjoining gallery had work curated and made by the artist Mark Herald . Vibrant sketchbooks collage work and cobalt horses fill this space. This is a temporary exhibition.

Downstairs on the ground floor is another new gallery space, its very smart, currently exhibiting a show called ‘Flesh’. This show had on display some terrific paintings from Peter Paul Rubens to more ‘shocking’ modern works by Jenny Saville. There was also sculpture by artists inducing Barry Flanagan. The works were both amusing, shocking and beautiful in equal measure. The only downside is that this Gallery used to be free to the public now, due to cuts in funding: you have to pay to see any of the work exhibited here you can however buy an annual ticket.  I think it’s worth it. Flesh continues at the York Center for Ceramic Arts until the 19th of March.


Sculpture by Barry Flanagan                 Sand and Muslin



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