All Fired Up

Len Castle All Fired Up
1 April 2011 – 5 June 2011, Long Gallery

Take a virtual tour of All Fired Up kindly provided by Sait Akkirman of

All Fired Up, a show curated by Simon Manchester, is drawn from the James Wallace Arts Trust Collection showing that ceramic work is integral to the Collection. A passion for art has brought about a diverse and comprehensive selection of works within which the ceramics sit well. This exhibition talks about, and sits within, an era when the best ceramics are part, or aspire to be a part, of the fine art conversation.  These are special works – less obsessed with process or ethos and more concerned with description, content and message.  And yet All Fired Up celebrates that which makes expression in clay so special and unique.  It tries to illustrate what clay brings to the wider practice of art. While being part of the art dialogue in terms of concerns and delivery, the works are made from clay, which is integral to their impact. The work does reflect the medium.

Historically, ceramics have been somewhat in a world of their own – the American ceramics specialist Garth Clark’s ‘Fortress Ceramica’.  This exhibition tries to illustrate how this is changing by extended the conversation between fine and applied arts or craft – showing fine artists working in clay, and clay artists making sculpture and fine art, and that both are achieving a new level of recognition with the public and collectors. It shows that ceramics can sit comfortably within a fine arts context. These ceramics are simply part of a wider collection and yet have been selected with an eye that knows clay – most of the works reflect the medium but have been chosen because they fit in with the wider collecting agenda and not because it’s time to buy another pot.

All Fired Up asks the question whether there really is a dividing line between craft and art, by showing a powerful group of clay works that are integrated into a fine art collection – the works speak of clay but reflect wider art world concerns.

Simon Manchester

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