May 14th Series – Chris Taylor ‘Artist Statement’
These most recent group of pieces contains a stronger visual narrative and focuses on depicting news stories, significant and otherwise, from a single day – May 14th (in 2018 and again in 2019) – in an attempt to give an enduring physical presence to something which appears remarkably transient and ephemeral.
These pieces are intended as documents of history, a record of what was deemed important for a time, even if fleetingly. The vessels will last for hundreds of years whilst the stories they document are often forgotten within days.
On May 14th 2018, Margot Kidder – the actor who played Louis Lane in the original Superman film – was reported to have died, whilst that day saw protests against the moving of the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The young man on the pots is using a sling shot to attack Israeli soldiers. A year later on this date, the actor, singer & activist Doris Day was also reported to have died, at the age of 97.
Chris Taylor grew up in South East London.
In 2000, after completing a degree in ceramics at the University of the West of England, he moved to Devon to embark upon an apprenticeship at Dartington Pottery. For the next five years he worked in several ceramics studios across the country gradually honing his making skills.
In 2005 Chris began to produce his own range of handmade tableware whilst teaching part time at North Devon School of Art. This he did for four years before leaving his teaching job to study at the Royal College of Art.
In 2011 on completion of his MA Chris returned to Devon where he became the principle lecturer in Ceramics at Plymouth College of Art whilst working to producing a new series of highly decorative one off pieces which have evolved into what you see today.
In 2017 Chris and family relocated to Dumfries and Galloway where he and his wife Lauren now run a teaching and making workshop – Clay Works Studios – in Dumfries. Chris continues to produce his work form the region.
I take inspiration from the rich history within the ceramic field, combining materials, techniques and processes which are not commonly seen side by side and layering them to create objects that are rich with colour, texture and material quality.
Whilst some vessel forms appear commonplace, the surface treatment conflicts with this notion of familiarity and I use this approach to challenge people’s innate understanding of domestic objects.
The surface decoration is applied in interesting and unusual ways. Lustre will appear painterly and free. Pattern will be disrupted by an area of loosely applied colour or worn away to reveal the clay underneath. Glaze is intentionally applied inconsistently to reveal the matt surface below and surface cracking is encouraged as decorative interest.
For me there is a strong relationship between the process of making and the variety of ways this leaves its evidence on an object. This work explores the marrying of form, surface pattern and ceramic technique. Through practical investigations contemporary objects are created using traditional techniques and processes. In this way visual interest is forged that brings together tradition, decoration and process to create a sense of ‘history’ to the surface.
New work has contained a stronger visual narrative with the recent series of work focusing on depicting news stories, significant and otherwise, from a single day – May 14th (in 2018 and again in 2019) – in an attempt to give an enduring physical presence to something which appears remarkably transient and ephemeral.
The most recent pieces made to document stories in 2019 see the vessel forms moving away from traditional shapes and becoming abstracted, themselves now challenging the expected.