Review of ‘Ahead of the Curve’ exhibition, on contemporary Chinese ceramics

My review of ‘Ahead of the Curve: new china from China’, a touring exhibition on contemporary Chinese ceramics, is published on a four page spread in the latest ‘Craft Arts International’ magazine, issue no. 94. This exhibition started at The Wilson, Cheltenham’s art gallery and museum, in October 2014 and then moved on to Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, before going to The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke on Trent.

Cover page to Crafts Art International, issue no. 95

Cover page to Crafts Art International, issue no. 94

First page of my article in Craft Arts International

First page of my article in Craft Arts International

David Inshaw’s Gromit, ‘Bushed’, at the RWA in Bristol

David Inshaw is an RWA Academician. He works predominately in oil paint, producing paintings of significant size. His work can be found in many places including the Bristol Art Gallery and Museum and the Tate Collection. He is the painter of The Badminton Game, 1972-3, which is one of his most famous pieces, and the beautiful but less well-known painting The River Bank (Ophelia), 1980.

The Gromit that Inshaw has designed is called ‘Bushed’ and – before the exhibition of all eighty Gromits – was situated just inside the entrance to the RWA. ‘Bushed’ is an apt name considering the Gromit is covered in dark green details of English foliage and leaves. This makes it feel like one of the subtler Gromit designs that can be seen around the city. The design also exemplifies much of Inshaw’s work that is immersed in Englishness and a love of the English countryside. His representation of trees and shrubs is striking and so stylised that it is instantly recognisable as his work. It therefore seems appropriate that this is the design for his Gromit sculpture.

Inshaw’s paintings focus on particular detailed aspects of nature, which he uses to reflect and explore human emotions. In various interviews he admits that Thomas Hardy’s novels and poems, and particularly the novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles, heavily influence him. In this novel natural landscapes are used as metaphors for elements of the human psyche. The landscape influences the mind as well as reflecting or helping to translate it. This is suggested in Inshaw’s own work partly because landscapes dominate each composition (and even overshadow the few figures also included in the paintings) and emit feelings of tranquillity, melancholy, nostalgia or order, as appropriate to the circumstantial production of the painting and its title.  Continue reading