Five new commissions by early-career applied artists Zachary Eastwood-Bloom, Malene Hartmann Rasmussen, Jasleen Kaur, Ian McIntyre and Silo Studio brought about through the biennial Jerwood Makers Open. Each combines a high level of technical skill with imagination and intellectual adventure, constituting a fresh and exciting direction of each artist’s work.
Zachary Eastwood-Bloom has hand-crafted a ceramic wall constructed using a number of three-dimensional, mesh-like cubes. These form an imposing structure which bisects the gallery space and is an extension of Zachary’s previous work exploring the relationship between digitisation and materiality.
Malene Hartmann Rasmussen has made an immersive, large-scale installation. Her theatrical and surreal ceramic forest utilises trompe l’oeil and is made of life-size scenic images of trees scaled up from tiny models with hand-crafted branches. The immersive woodland is a fairytale-esque space of ceramic flora and fauna with indications of narrative scenarios. It extends Malene’s previous work around motifs from domestic and natural environments, layered with the artist’s memories, daydreams and childhood nostalgia.
Jasleen Kaur has cast a trio of busts in hand-marbled plastic drawing on parallels between Indian devotional sculpture and traditional western portrait busts. The busts each depict a figure that represents a meeting point between opposing cultural ideas: Jasleen’s great-grandfather, her first ancestor to migrate from India to Glasgow; the Palestinian American Edward Said; and the current Lord Napier, great-grandson of a central figure in the story of British India. The work subverts materials and subjects from the revered to the everyday. This personal content drawing on her upbringing in a traditional Indian household in Glasgow, and denotes a fascination with the malleability of culture.
Ian McIntyre has made and fired a ton of white ceramic tableware, stacked in towering columns composed of hundreds of plates, cups and bowls. The work takes inspiration from production potter Isaac Button, who worked on an industrial scale. A Ton of Clay is the first case study in McIntyre’s wider body of PhD research, which examines the role of the maker and their potential to act as a catalyst for industrial innovation. This work extends Ian’s previous work as a designer, working predominantly with ceramics at the intersection where craft meets industrial production.
Multi-disciplinary design Studio Silo (Attua Aparicio and Oscar Wanless) cast bowls using a unique self-developed production technique for inertial casting. For this exhibition Silo Studio utilise new materials and is the product of new developments in Silo Studio’s machinery to further manipulate the casting process and is inspired by the principles of Newton’s bucket.
The five artists were selected from over 260 applications in response to an open call for self-directed projects from UK-based makers within 10 years of establishing their practice. Each artist received a bursary of £7,500 to support experimentation and the making of new work for this exhibition. The five artists were selected by an independent panel comprising Grant Gibson, Editor of Crafts magazine; Isobel Dennis, Director of New Designers; and Michael Marriott, product designer and curator.
Jerwood Makers Open was established in 2010 to promote the significance of making and materials within the visual arts arena, seeking to support exceptional skill and imagination. Since 2010, Jerwood Charitable Foundation has awarded commissioning funds totalling £180,000 directly to artists through this project. It has supported 24 major new commissions, offering a rare opportunity for artists to freely develop creative ideas central to their individual practices. It looks broadly at how contemporary artists are defining or challenging the boundaries of what has traditionally been described as applied arts. Alumni include: Keith Harrison, James Rigler, Matthew Raw, Nao Matsunaga and Will Shannon.
From 2015, Jerwood Makers Open runs on a biennial basis.