Cultural connections was founded in 1998 by Birthe Fraser to promote Danish and Nordic Applied Art in the UK, following more than a decade as Cultural Attache to denmarks London Embassy. Birthe’s professional background is as an archaeologist of the Ancient Middle East with a particular knowledge of ceramics, faience and glass. Her depth of knowledge shines out in the quality and structure of her exhibitions and this years “Collect in the Country” showing at the Barn galleries near Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, UK is no exception.
The setting complements the work wonderfully and at the entrance are a few pices of Wendy Hoares’ large pots, plus a few smaller pieces for the modern sized garden! The exhibition continues until 12 October 2008 and for anyone within reach it is well worth a trip (details on the events section of www.studiopottery.co.uk).
Some of the makers may not be too well known in Britain, but are all prominent National and International artists.
Bodil Manz’s delicate and fine porcelain with pencil sharp designs were, as always, exciting pieces to see and absorb.
I loved the solidity and strength of Lis Ehrenreich’s work and the interesting textures on Kim Holm’s cylinders.
Gutte Eriksen, (1918-2008) has been described as the ‘Grand Dame’ of Danish ceramics – she graduated from the Danish School for Arts and Crafts in 1938 She had many study tours, working first with Bernard Leach, who visited her several times in Denmark and then in France including La Borne. She was influenced particularly by the Leach sojourn and inspired by and engaged in the techniques and forms of the Far East. Following a visit by Michael Gill in 1950 she became interested in some of his glazes, developing them to become her own very characteristic glazes varying from black to degrees of blue, brown and grey, sometimes with specs of red/turquoise. Two pieces in the exhibition are illustrated below.
There were the sharp and squared designs of Dorte Visby, the contrasting smooth and rounded porcelain of Ivan Weiss who worked at Royal Copenhagen for many years until 2002. There were interesting bottle forms from Ulla Hansen. Aase Haugaard’s work figured prominently as well as the interesting animal forms by Steen Lykke Madsen.
The show was very well balanced and a pleasure to visit, helped by the depth of knowledge about each of the potters made freely available by Birthe and on panels on the walls and a table with reference books.
I came away knowing that I need to get to know Nordic Ceramics a lot better and to see Nordic Artists far better represented on the Studiopottery website.
My thanks to Birthe for providing much of this information
Images from top, left to right The exhibition barn; Wendy Hoare’s work; View including work by Aase Haugaard; Gutte Eriksen, bowl and pot; Dorte Visby; Ulla Hansen; Bodil Manz; Ivan Weiss.