The Ground is Good

Olivia Bax | Eva Masterman | Leon Sadler

Modern Painters, New Decorators
Unit 33, Carillon Court,
LE11 3XA

17 March - 28 April 2018
Gallery open from Wed-Sat 11am-5pm
PV Saturday 17 March 11am-2pm

Clay is ubiquitous across our homes, businesses and cultures; in many religions clay forms the beginnings of life itself. Both well-known and enigmatic, clay connects us with our industrial legacy, our natural surroundings and to our own sense of touch. Loughborough has long been a site that is rich with clay, and helped to support the nation's brick-making industry during the 18th Century. ‘The Ground Is Good’ showcases different approaches and new perspectives on contemporary clay practice. The artists in this exhibition are joined by their use of clay as a material with a set of rules and parameters, setting up a dialogue across disciplines.

Olivia Bax uses malleable materials such as air-dry clay to make textured sculptures that are built out of unique repeated forms. For The Ground Is Good’ Olivia has squashed and shaped clay onto steel armatures, resulting in outcomes that intrigue both the body and the eye. Like the Japanese ‘wabi-sabi’ style ceramic vessels, Olivia’s sculpture emphasis imperfection, in turn revealing the marks of their creator.

The artworks Eva Masterman makes are a study of ‘the ceramics studio’, a space loaded with histories both private and public. Influenced by the tools and discarded ceramics found in the studios she works in, Eva makes installations that question the margins between ‘art’ and ‘craft’. For this exhibition Eva is reworking sculptures with found objects from the studio of her Great Aunt, set in the Spode Factory in Stoke-on-Trent, the centre of the ceramics boom of the 17th Century.

Leon Sadler creates ceramics that use humour to playfully prod at themes as wide ranging as anarchy, welfare and capitalism. Recently he has been experimenting with clay as collage, creating hybrid reliefs that combine glazed elements with jesmonite and paint. Leon is drawn to amateur ceramics and craft hobbies for their ‘earnest emotional’ quality, in turn making work that is seemingly high on colour and dizzy with joy, yet worryingly dystopian.

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