Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Kate McDowell

In her delicate crafted porcelain sculptures conceptual artist Kate McDowell expresses her interpretation of the clash between the natural world and the modern-day environmental impact of industrialized society. The resulting works can be equal parts amusing and disturbing as the anatomical forms of humans and animals become inexplicably intertwined in her delicate porcelain forms. Via her artist statment:

"In my work this romantic ideal of union with the natural world conflicts with our contemporary impact on the environment. These pieces are in part responses to environmental stressors including climate change, toxic pollution, and gm crops. They also borrow from myth, art history, figures of speech and other cultural touchstones. In some pieces aspects of the human figure stand-in for ourselves and act out sometimes harrowing, sometimes humorous transformations which illustrate our current relationship with the natural world. In others, animals take on anthropomorphic qualities when they are given safety equipment to attempt to protect them from man-made environmental threats".

Evelyn Bracklow

Picture Chekhov's cherry orchard after the aristocratic Gayev family have been forced out of their beloved estate, where the remains of their farewell picnic have been left behind, porcelain plates, teacups and sugar bowls now crawling with ants. This is the sensation that you get when you encounter German artist Evelyn Bracklow's hand-painted antique-style china pieces, a jarring yet playful impression of decayed grandeur.
Titled “Chitins Gloss” and produced under Bracklow’s artistic pseudonym “La Philie”, the series consists of old porcelain crockery that she meticulously adorns with ants. Using a fine brush to hand-paint the life-size ants in great detail, it takes Bracklow at the minimum three hours to finish each unique piece after which they are baked at 160 degrees. Taking great care to make the ants as naturalistic as possible, both in their shape but also in their bustling formations, the finished plates, bowls, cups and other tableware are products of exquisite craftsmanship that display a mastery in trompe l'oeil.