Simon Bayliss: We-Ha-Neck! (a harvest supper)

New ceram­ics on the from St Ives artist, Simon Bayliss. Includ­ing ceram­ic plates, stools and jugs staged around a tri­an­gu­lar table.

Central to the installation if the traditional harvest jug - a type of jug made in North Devon and used for serving drinks during rural celebrations. Originally trained as a painter, Bayliss continues to look to contemporary painting for ideas and inspiration, and using coloured slips to decorate pots is a way for the artist to continue exploring his painterly sensibilities.

The pink triangular plinth which stages the work, is a reference to Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party. Chicago was an important icon of 1970s feminist art, and The Dinner Party comprises a massive ceremonial banquet arranged on a triangular table with place settings commemorating important women from history. The pink equilateral triangle also acknowledges the symbol used by Nazi’s to denote homosexual men in concentration camps, and it has since been reclaimed by LGBTQ+ communities as a positive symbol of identity.

As well as crafting pots, Bayliss has a long history of making rave music. The dance track accompanying the ceramic installation uses found samples from ‘Crying the Neck’ festivities, which have traditionally taken place at harvest time around Cornwall, Devon and Dorset. As the last clump of wheat is cut and held in the air, the gathered crowd shout “What-ave-ee?”, and the harvester replies “A neck! A neck! A neck!” There’s a parallel here between the ‘neck’ of wheat and the neck of a jug, providing a link back to the harvest jug and the initial inspiration behind this new body of work.
Installation Sculpture