in partnership with the Black Mountain College Museum + Art Center
presenter: Professor Simon Olding- Director, Crafts Study Centre, UK
An illustrated lecture that makes a case for the centrality of drawing, watercolors and print making to Bernard Leach’s career and practice as an artist.
Bernard Leach is celebrated as a potter, but, as Emmanuel Cooper argues, his stature as a ‘one of the great figures of twentieth century art’ also rests on the interconnections of his work in ceramic art, in writing and poetry. Leach travelled to Japan in 1909 with the intention of teaching etching. He returned to St. Ives in the South West of England as a revered potter. But Leach never stopped drawing. Although many of his works are speculative or private, some imagery translates directly from the pen to the surface of the pot, and Leach’s facility with slip ware helped to transform a tradition of work with its vitality and immediacy.
Using rarely seen images of drawings and prints and with a special focus on Leach’s output as an etcher, the lecture will reveal Leach to be an artist of sometimes powerful grace and sensitivity, using natural imagery with symbolic intensity and capturing the spirit people close to him with a deft, spare line. The lecture draws on the remarkable Leach archive donated by the artist to the Crafts Study Centre towards the end of his long life.
The lecture is presented by Professor Simon Olding who joined the University for the Creative Arts as Director of the Crafts Study Centre in 2002 and was appointed Professor of Contemporary Crafts in 2003.
Olding’s previous roles include Head of Arts and Museums for Bournemouth Borough Council, Director of Policy and Research at the Heritage Lottery Fund, project director for the Russell-Cotes refurbishment, and project champion for the recent Salisbury Arts Centre new build and restoration scheme (in his role as Chair, 1995-2005). His expertise is centered on contemporary crafts and his current research and publications are focused on the life and works of contemporary ceramic artists, especially those in Southern and South West England. Olding wrote “The Etchings of Bernard Leach” published in 2010 by the Crafts Study Centre and the Leach Pottery, as well as numerous essays and articles. ref
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