Ceramics

How to take an expressive line for a whirl

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SOMETHING PLEASANTLY LURID happens when you spend time looking at the body of ceramic pieces by Daniel Brand, exhibited at the Pretoria Arts Association for the April Potter of the Month slot.

Having been working with the medium of clay for three years, Brand doesn’t boast a polished or very fine approach to it. His vessels are rough-edged and complicated by grooves and twists in the material that cause it to teeter and crumple your gaze. But effectively, and when you look at 20-odd pieces achieved with a similar aesthetic, this is its charm.

The ancient Japanese technique known as nerikomi which boasts fronds that reach historically from Egypt, China and Rome, relate to the crafts associated under the rubric of ‘marbling’. Think of wool which is dyed to change colour as you knit, and you get the picture. Brand colours the wet clay as he works, yielding an approach which is resonant with the wiles of chance.

For this reason, his works, be they plates or bowls, dishes or vases, have a kind of ‘primitive’ feel which may make you think of German Expressionist art from the early 20th century. The lines are unapologetically bold as they clash and intertwine, argue with the shape of the vessel and dance together, sometimes clumsily, but always exuberantly.

The body of work is no longer on show in the North Gallery, and officially closes today, but there are pieces available in the shelves of the gallery space.

  • Potter of the Month: Daniel Brand showed work in the North Gallery of the Pretoria Arts Association in Bailey’s Muckleneuk, Pretoria, until April 26. 012 346 3100.
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