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Ceramics Art - Essay Example

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Ever since its introduction into the Western world in the late seventeenth century, the form of a teapot has fascinated artists as a vessel. Its various parts, the body, the spout, the handle and the lid, have been put together in an almost infinite variety of combinations, and the vessel itself has been made with myriad shapes, sizes, materials, finishes and functions.
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Download file to see previous pages The colours move into each other in delicate swirls from greens, browns, blues and turquoise to blacks, whites, beige and mustard. A small spout with brown and pale turquoise glaze is placed on one side of the pot, and a dome shaped lid in shades of brown fits in snugly. A tiny turquoise handle with a minuscule black button is at an angle to the spout, and extrudes out of the surface. The entire egg shape tapers down to a very tiny black foot.
The irreducible essence of a teapot is its function, in terms of cultural and human ritual terms. By taking away from this teapot its utility, Swindell does not add a conceptual dimension, or vestigial elements to suggest a different meaning, in the manner of poststructural art, where the lack of function becomes a metaphor for something else in the artist's dictionary. The teapot is still just a teapot, quaint, not functional, but definitely a teapot.
This teapot is indeed an example of organic art, in a class of its own. Far removed from post-modern jargon and innuendoes, its expressive criteria are not in tune with the deconstructive and discursive atmosphere of contemporary arts practice. As Bernard Kerr says, " By overly conceptualising our work we run the risk of losing the special somatic and sensual qualities that make the ceramic arts unique and special."(Kerr, 2005). When viewing Swindell's work the correct questions to ask would be whether it is a beautiful, nostalgic piece of evanescence made tangible. Swindell seems to capture the volatile charm of nature in this piece, which emerges with new, subtle meanings every time you look at it.
Though out time potters have sought to create man made ceramic forms, which echo the sensibilities of nature, sometimes by mimicking nature or through stylisation and abstraction. The history of ceramics is filled with organic masterpieces. (Thames & Hudson, 2001)

It does not have enforced explicit and implicit narratives, and it exists not to faithfully portray the tragedies of existence but seeks to alleviate them through beauty in art. As he himself puts it, "Although political and cultural statements have become fashionable with visual artists I do not make work with a conscious message, preferring to deal with the "abstract" qualities of Art."(Swindell, 2005)

To me it is a piece that seems to shift under the eye, to ripple and move if I look at it long enough, and I want to pick it up to trace its contours to assure myself it is real. Its structure is engineered and precise, but the surface and colours bring back memories of sandy beaches, worm casts, patterns seen on sand, and lulling waves. This marriage of the man-made and natural has evolved over time, as some of his earlier exhibits have also exuded similar qualities:
His vision is much broader than the size of the work initially suggests. He brings together shapes, motifs and surface qualities that simultaneously manage to be evocative of both the natural and man made worlds. (Jeffery Jones, 2003)

Tea and teapots have been a comforting part of our culture ever since they were introduced in England. A teapot evokes warmth, security and reassurance, and the diminutive size reinforces this feeling of intimacy:
Teapots traditionally belong in a familiar domestic environment, where potters have always had a significant role in reflecting social fashion and culture by providing ware for ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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