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Languish, Katie Smith

Explore a com­pelling col­lec­tion of bod­i­ly ceram­ics by artist Katie Smith

03/01/24 – 08/04/24
Opening Times
Sunday, 11:00 – 16:00
Mon–Tue, Closed
Wed–Sat, 11:00 – 16:00
Embodying organic textures and human qualities, Languish reinforces ideas about how both nature and the body’s movements are intrinsically linked. The collection explores the relationship between the artist’s physical and emotional body by using a research-through-practice approach to hand-build precarious organic and anatomical-looking forms. Maximalism, ornate surfaces and textural decorative surfaces tell stories that oscillate between discomfort to the seductiveness of wanting to touch the works.

Each piece is painstakingly hand-built with the utilisation of layered clay-coils. Each layer must be dry enough to support the weight on top without being too dry as the pieces are then unable to join. These techniques embed human activity within the vessels, demonstrating growth and creating the appearance of both breathing and movement as well as taking on more organic shapes. The result is distorted forms that appear to accumulate and sag like human skin. Bulges, folds, dimples and other textural imperfections personify the structures and make palpable the human touch that made the objects whilst strengthening the symbiosis of material-maker and the suggestiveness of personal attributes; our ageing bodies and/or parts of ourselves we hide. A mimicking of wrinkles, scarring and stretch marks; the often untold parts of our anatomy.

Describing herself as sensitive and feeling things deeply – the artist makes use of these traits when building the structures. Her anxious predisposition is inevitably imbued throughout the work rooting her tacit emotional and material knowledge as the clay responds to her touch. Finger marks are deliberately left, holes appear as she transforms heavy blocks of clay into perilous objects that appear fragile and vulnerable but stand strong. The vessels are seemingly soft and close to collapse, contradicting the solidity and stability of material and arguably of one’s body; drawing attention to the fragility of one’s body and by extension life.

About the artist

Katie Smith is an artist and designer-maker who’s practice portrays narratives through both ceramic and illustration. Graduating from Nottingham Trent University in 2021 with a First Class Honours degree in Decorative Arts, she then followed with an MA in Designer Maker in 2022 from UAL Camberwell College of Arts. Katie is currently developing her practice whilst simultaneously working at a central London gallery and as a school art technician.
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