The Vase continues to fascinate

The Vase continues to fascinate

Ever since the Grecian Urn, the vase has a tradition as a container of narrative and vehicle for storytelling.

A new exhibition at the National Craft Gallery looks at how contemporary artists are still addressing issues of the personal and the political within and on their work.

Curated by Brian Kennedy, VASE: Function Reviewed will be at the National Craft Gallery in the Castle Courtyard from August 6 to November 6 and forms part of the programme for Kilkenny Arts Festival .

Ceramics play a huge part in all our daily lives. We wash from a ceramic sink, drink our morning tea or coffee from a ceramic mug, eat from a ceramic dish and when we want to cheer up a room we put flowers in a ceramic vase. Many contemporary artists take these daily objects and rituals and investigate them through their work. This exhibition focuses on the vase, an object we all have in our lives, and looks at it through the eyes of the artist.

VASE: Function Reviewed debates issues of functionality in ceramics through a series of works by Irish and international artists. The exhibition showcases a range of objects, from the consciously matching to the gloriously mismatched, the proudly ‘functional’ to the emphatically ‘dysfunctional’, the ‘useful’ and the ‘useless’. It offers a lively and stimulating debate on form versus function within contemporary ceramics and encourages an animated debate on hierarchies within contemporary ceramics, making us look anew at the objects that surround us.

Featuring 29 artists from Europe, Africa and Asia, VASE: Function Reviewed places work by Irish artists such as Sara Flynn, Alison Kay and Derek Wilson within a broader international context. The exhibition also includes work by Kate Malone, one of the judges from The Great British Throw Down TV series, Babs Haenen, one of the best regarded Dutch ceramists and Hwang Kap Sun, an emerging Korean maker with recent shows in Paris and Geneva. Visitors can also enjoy the work of Carol McNicoll, Alison Britton and Janice Tchalenko - 3 of the 5 women that are credited with changing the direction of studio ceramics in the 1970s. Details of all featured artists can be viewed at www.nationalcraftgallery.ie/vase. Presenting a wide range of approaches from the functional to the more sculptural/abstract, this exhibition provides an insight into the issues and concerns addressed by contemporary artists through clay.

VASE: Function Reviewed debuts at the National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny from 6th August to 6th November 2016 and plans are being developed to tour the exhibition during 2017. A comprehensive programme of events and activities has been planned to coincide with exhibition’s run. Opening hours at the National Craft Gallery: Tuesday – Saturday: 10am - 5.30pm | Sundays and Bank Holidays: 11am-5.30pm|Closed Mondays. Admission is free.