Publication: Ceramic Review
Peter Potter Gallery
Lorraine Robson originally trained as a cartographer before switching to her present career as a sculptor of intensely refined and crafted ceramic vessels. It is clear that her early training was instrumental in developing a sense of precision, scale and attention to detail ¾important elements, which she has carried over into her current work.
Using ancient methods such as coiling and slabbing, Robson usually fires her work three times. Between each firing, she painstakingly sands her vessels using increasingly fine grades of silicon carbide paper.
Robson takes the archetypal vessel form and imbues it with a contemporary ambiguity, which creates intrigue and, occasionally, a frisson of menace. In ‘Slice I’ and ‘Slice II’, a collaboration with Adrian Baird Bathan, Robson has combined the upright vase form with stoppers fashioned from wood and finely worked steel blades. It is this element of surprise which lends Robson’s work such an innovative edge.
‘Kelp’, a more gentle and fluid piece, made this time with printmaker Liz Myhill, combines two diamond polished ovoid vessels, two sepia-glazed rings and printed silk.
It is clear too that Robson enjoys the adventure of experimentation, as well as collaboration, as her work with basket-maker, Lich Bech, shows. Non-functional but redolent of ancient forms, these combinations of willow and clay suggest a lineage extending back through millennia.
More sensual are Molly Ginnelly’s sterling silver neckpieces, which adorn the open throats of Robson’s red and highly-fired, black earthenware vessels.
Robson’s choice of collaborator is thus is determining factor in the nature and mood of the resultant work.
A tour de force is Robson’s installation, ‘Pecking Order’, which extends across one gallery wall and consists of multiple beak forms in slip cast earthenware. Depending on mood or context this collection of multiples in three sizes can appear faintly menacing or mildly humorous.
Robson’s work demonstrates once again the seemingly infinite possibilities of material and technology when combined with the limitless power of the human imagination.