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Ceramic Figurines by Claire Partington Put a Contemporary Twist on Historical Symbols

January 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

Citing traditional portraiture and figurative ceramics, London-based artist Claire Partington (previously) sculpts grand characters with a dose of contemporary wit: Lavishly outfitted women lose their heads to anthropomorphized octopuses, a flip flop-wearing fairy dozes alongside empty beer bottles, and sneakers and a cellphone lie next to "Sleeping Beauty." Infused with mythological symbols and references to folklore, the delicate figurines meld history and culture across time periods and prompt questions about interpretation and narrative. Many of the pieces shown here are included in Partington's solo exhibition En Plein Air,…

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Art

Figurative Ceramic Vessels by Claire Partington Combine Animal Traits with Historic and Mythical Characters

May 29, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

London-based artist Claire Partington creates figurative ceramic vessels steeped in power dynamics and status. Her works often feature removable head stoppers of humans and animals, which bring a range and versatility to each glazed character. Her inspiration for the elegant figures comes mostly from European applied art and design styles from the 17th-century onward, yet the pieces blend elements from various centuries and genres. Partington shares with Colossal that she has a "magpie" approach to collecting visual elements from her everyday experience, "equally taking inspiration from a visit…

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Art Craft Illustration

Seven Artists Crack Open the Art of Printed Matter in ‘Bookworks’

May 17, 2022

Kate Mothes

Books have beguiled us since they first emerged in the form of ancient scrolls and codices around the world. The way we access, utilize, and enjoy reading material has seen technological transformation over the centuries, from Johannes Gutenberg's invention of the printing press in the 15th century, to the first dictionary produced in 1532, to the advent of affordable pocket paperbacks in the early 20th century. Paper tomes have had an immeasurable impact on society and our…

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Art

A Menagerie of Ceramic Beasts and Curiosities at Messums Wiltshire’s ‘Material Earth II’

February 14, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

In Material Earth II, a group show that just opened at Messums Wiltshire, artists explore how materials can be used to morph the meaning of traditional narratives—particularly in the context of Northern European myths and fairytales. In a statement on the show, Messums describes the exhibition as "an ode to all those that are magical, fantastical and ever-changing." Artists include Livia Marin, Ann Carrington, Bouke de Vries, and Jessica Harrison. The works span a range of materials, with an emphasis on ceramics,…

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