Liliya Art Gallery is pleased to present UNTOUCHABLE an exhibition featuring seven female artists who work with ceramics. This group exhibition presents an up-to-date survey of ceramic as a versatile and fascinating medium from a range of artists’ perspectives, whilst also considering the contemporary and historical importance of women to the popularity of the medium.
Artists and artisans working with ceramics have contributed to the art world for centuries. From prehistoric pottery to ancient Greek amphoras, from the rise of porcelain in Asia to the Arts and Crafts movement in the UK – ceramic traditions have long fascinated artists.
The role of women in producing studio pottery has often been dramatically understated, women dominated the ceramic movement from around 1870 to 1915 when they organised in groups to do china painting. Their influence increased in the 1880s as they founded and ran factories which employed mostly female artists. However, it is not till recently that ceramic was considered ‘fine art’, thanks, in part, to blockbuster male artists such as Sterling Ruby and Dan McCarthy. It is within this context that older living artists who have long championed the medium, such as Betty Woodman and Arlene Schechet, saw a resurgence; paving the way for younger artists to find a market.
The artists showing in UNTOUCHABLE manipulate and use the medium to create completely unique works, highlighting the versatile nature of the material. The title of the show is in part a play on the fragility of the medium, and ongoing struggle for female artists, and specifically female ceramicists, to compete within the hierarchical structure of so-called ‘Fine Art’. UNTOUCHABLEserves to champion the diversity of narrative and perspective of each artist, as they add their own illusions to craft, humour, feminism, practicality, and sculpture to the medium.
The works included in the exhibition emphasise the unbounding creativity of the artists with the dynamic colours, forms, irregularity, and playfulness of each sculpture. The exhibition intentionally focuses solely on ceramics, creating a unique gallery space with ‘empty’ walls, and a maze of beautiful and fascinating sculpture. The variety of works on display creates a dialogue between the material and artists whilst also presenting a layered representation of the importance of female artists in the development of this wonderful medium.