For Use and Decoration
29th May – 26th June 2021
This exhibition of fifty new works by rising young painter Martha Holmes is inspired by the beautiful Penwith coastline, and is comprised of a series of small studies and larger paintings which capture the shifting detail of Cornwall’s ever-changing landscape. This collection explores the relationship between land and sea at the point where the bright, optimistic greens of Cornwall’s rural landmass meet the deep, dramatic blues of the Atlantic Ocean. In each of these works, land, sea and sky are suggested by simplified areas of shape and colour, while the solid board beneath her bold, semi-abstracted marks is deliberately integrated with the work itself, by way of texture and a strong ground, becoming part of the painting’s dynamic like the stone beneath soft layers of landscape.
Martha’s particular talent is in capturing the essence of a scene through the pure abstraction of colour and light, an approach which expresses a raw and honest sense of the landscape. As a painter, she is inspired by a deep-rooted connection to the land where she grew up, as well as an emotive connection to the ocean and its influence on the landscape she loves to paint. Cornish masters such as Patrick Heron, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, and 21st century plein-air painter Lucie Bray, have all been significant influences on the development of her work.
Chris Keenan began his career as apprentice to potter Edmund de Waal. For the first project de Waal set him, Chris chose to work with a combination of celadon and tenmoku glazes, a skill that has since become his specialism. In 1998 he established his own studio in South London, where he now works exclusively in Limoges porcelain, creating simple, hand thrown forms designed to enhance the pleasure of domestic rituals. Rhythm, repetition, and the organic nature of the handmade are central to his daily practice, resulting in the creation of ever more refined but subtly different collections of related shapes. His elegant tableware includes beakers, bowls, cups, teapots, jugs and pots for flowers, as well as his unique ‘rocking bowls’ and interactive ‘Extra-Curricular’ collections, all glazed in a distinctive palette of mirror-black tenmokus and blue-green celadons. Many of his collections pair simple ceramic shapes with surface pattern, or raised, incised and impressed detailing, and his work is often presented in ‘familial’ groups, in the style of an art installation, making clearer the importance of refinement and progression of form. In this collection for New Craftsman, Chris has created a series of bottles, beakers and ceramic spheres, and has enhanced his regular palette of glazes with the experimental addition of striking reds.
Chris Keenan’s work is held in private and public collections including those of the V&A in London, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, and the Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art in Japan.