We went to see the work of our friend Caroline Allen recently, who’s embedded in her (second) degree in Materials Practice and 3D Design at Brighton University. Since she’s usually a little coy with her work, we weren’t prepared for the joy these things thrust at us.
Caroline’s spent a long time researching prehistoric artefacts, and the roles and purposes we assign to them even if we don’t know what they are or were. Find a corner of pottery with a curve, it was a milk jug. Find a flat piece with a pattern on it, it was a plate. The truth is we often don’t know what they are, but we imbue these shards with meaning and purpose anyway, so that we can attach a significance and history to them.
She’s invested a large amount of time in playing with ceramics as a way of exploring ideas around utility, function, context, and aesthetic. There’s no official explanation for the things that have emerged as a result – that’s up to us, as viewers: to ‘develop their own biography’. These beautiful and beguiling objects ask to be touched, yet snag you and set your teeth on edge. They’re made up of so many pieces, yet were made as one entity and then divided into pieces, sometimes carefully, sometimes, it seems, harshly. They make an uncomfortable sound if you stroke them. They might break (some did in transit, apparently) but they look broken already and what do they care?
The shavings are highly glazed and fragile, and highly tactile. Razor-edged, they’re light as a vicious feather. Her degree show is on now but I just wanted to share these as, after a long period of output ultimately ending always in two printed dimensions, feeling and looking at them it was like a big gulp of fresh cold sea air. Carry on having thoughts Cazza, we like it when they emerge as objects which make us do the same.
Show: 1st June, 5-8, Faculty of Arts, University of Brighton
Room 207, Circus Street
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