Ian McIntyre ‘A Ton of Clay’
‘A Ton of Clay’ is London-based artist Ian McIntyre’s installation for Jerwood Makers Open 2015, an annual contemporary art exhibition that puts emphasis on making, practice and process, commissioning a group of artists to create a body of work in a six month period.
McIntyre’s piece is – as the title suggests – made from a ton of clay, comprising hundreds of stacked plates and bowls, and nods to the late 20th century production potter Isaac Button – a man famous for throwing a ton of clay pots in any one day. “I am really interested in the constraints he was working with,” says McIntyre. “People reminisce about his work in quite a romantic and nostalgic way but when you go into it a bit more, it is not as idyllic as it looks. It must have been a really tough life.”
Re-creating to some extent the potter’s working conditions to make the piece – using almost continuously three kilns to make, fire and glaze the 1000 bowls and plates that create the piece in its final form – but also referencing the act of making more conceptually McIntyre has created something that sits somewhere between craft, art and industrial design.
Visually it is both quite uniform – white in colour with a simple, clear glaze, and yet full of differing forms and irregularities on closer inspection. The way the pieces are stacked in staggered columns along two shelves makes the piece appear as one mass – “a raw weight” that nods directly to Button’s prolific work and factory-like speed.
Whichever way it’s looked at, ‘A Ton of Clay’ is a beautiful object, full of idea, not totally removed from function, and most definitely concerned with the art of process as it is at the same time with aesthetics.
Credits: Ian McIntyre