About

Statement

"My current practice occupies a territory that explores notions of landscape and the collections of objects. I make small-scale three-dimensional ceramic works, mainly in bone china that are carefully selected to sit independently or within a group, sometimes amongst man-made or natural materials. I collect items that I find intriguing either for their form, surface or colour. Depending on what outcome I want to achieve, I cast, dip, knit, stitch, stain or alter the findings to create one-off sculptural objects. The final artworks are mainly ceramic with mixed media components displayed as assemblages or installations. I respond to my surroundings and collate images and collections from each place I visit. Experimenting with materials is of great interest to me, I collage and combine different techniques to discover new possibilities. Drawing and mark making is also an integral part of my practice".

 

An essay by David Whiting for National Touring Solo Exhibition Catalogue.

The Language of Clay: Still, 2017.

 

Imaginary Hinterlands

Eve Hesse, Gillian Lowndes, Jacki Parry, Neil Brownsword, Joseph Beuys, Rachel Whiteread, Anne Gibbs; a diverse group of artists perhaps, but all have explored with great delicacy and sensitivity the wonders of the familiar, the charge of objects seen and felt around us. It is about corporeal potency, a rich transformation involving sensory properties full of visual suggestion. It also strikes me that, to use a phrase favoured by the late poet Geoffrey Hill, such work is about the power of ‘expressiveness’ in art, not about the comparative insularity of ‘self-expression’. That is to say, in Gibbs’ case, such work goes beyond the purely autobiographical, though it does touch on our collective response to what is around us, the strata of meanings in the physical layers of our environment and the furniture of our lives.

Clay is a highly responsive and malleable medium which can bind together (literally and metaphorically) any number of other raw and created components. Gibbs’ sculptural collages are still highly personal, but in the sense that they deal with artefacts that connect with us all, they salvage things from our own shared experience and histories. There is a level of familiarity about her imagery and what she trawls, an intimacy about her choice of form and materials. Her use of clay, notably bone china, with other items, found or made, is also a trigger of recognition and memory. Different fragments are transmuted as she binds them together in work that goes beyond any superficial ‘style'. It is given a deeper sense of texture, a fertility, through the eclectic nature of the objects she utilises and improvises. They needle her inventive imagination, and they needle ours.

The natural and the human-made, both the valued and the discarded, are bound into Gibbs' own resourceful world of stitching, threading, piercing and joining, where every act of making, of construction and piecing together, is also an important part of her philosophy. It is just as much about the process. The fragile nature of this process adds to its intimacy, another quality she has in common with the other artists I mention. It is a gently regenerative creativity, this bricolage of pieces reevaluated and remade. Gibbs is artist as retriever, but also as provocateur, in her understated way pricking at our consciousness, making us think afresh about the fabric of our interior and exterior worlds. Like Rachel Whiteread’s sculpture, this is an art of the human imprint, about the ghost or residue of our presence and activity. Her sculptures have potency because they are about a kind of interaction, not only between artist and object, but between their constituent elements. They evoke different human rituals, playfully reconfiguring and subverting the often familiar and ordinary into something other-worldly. Her work becomes strangely talismanic, triggering association, a surrealism of the everyday, grounded in fact in our own close experience.

In her Crossing Boundaries installation of 2015, there were casts that resembled party-like food moulds, there were charred pin forms, utensils harnessed with thread, a sprig of lichen bonded to a twig, suggestive of a bonsai-like still life. The presentation evoked the layout and various tools of table ceremony, the colours uncannily bright and festive. Gibbs’ most recent work continues this sense of studied placement and arrangement, a sense of relationships no doubt deepened by her recent time in Japan, where the sense of poise and the interconnectedness of things comes out in the Japanese approach to objects and spatial harmonies, concentrated and expressed in daily ritual and display.

Gibbs' intensely focused explorations go beyond the purely conceptual. This is a sculpture that is felt, visually tactile, in its different textures and surfaces, and where colour too is sensual, even evoking qualities of taste and smell. These are sculptures of reconstitution, taken from landscape and seascape, the urban and the domestic, and on the evidence here, more distant, imaginary hinterlands. They are given new frisson because of the eclectic dialogues and narratives that Gibbs opens up for us, what the art critic Robert Hughes would have called ‘play-off’. These become a domestic tableaux of another kind, work that reminds us that nothing in our complex, sometimes hidden and always extraordinary surroundings can be taken for granted.

David Whiting, 2016, Art critic and writer

 

CV

Qualifications:
2002-2004 MA Ceramics, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff
1997–1999 PGCE (FE) University of Wales Institute, Cardiff
1991-1994 BA (Hons) Fine Art, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff
1990-1991 Foundation Certificate, Portsmouth College of Art & Design

Solo Exhibitions:
2017
The Language of Clay: Still, National touring exhibition in Wales.
Mission Gallery, Swansea, Ceramic Gallery, Aberystwyth,
Ruthin Craft Centre, Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre

2009
Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Wales

Group Exhibitions:
2018
Is It Useful? Unit Twelve Gallery, Stafford
Collect, represented by Ruthin Craft Centre, Saatchi Gallery, London

2017
Gallery in the Box, Llantarnam Grange, Arts Centre, Wales

2016
Sweet Gongs Vibrating, San Diego Arts Institute, USA

2015
Award, British Ceramics Biennial, Stoke on Trent, UKFragile? National Museum Cardiff, Wales
The Sensorial Object, Craft in the Bay, Cardiff, Wales
Collect, represented by Ruthin Craft Centre, Saatchi Gallery, London
Welsh Connections, Ruthin Craft Centre, Wales
Oriel Queens Hall Gallery, Narbeth, Wales

2014
Oriel Davies Open, Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Wales
Fourteen, Llantarnam Grange, Arts Centre, Wales
Maker in Focus, The Mission Gallery, Swansea, Wales
Aur / Gold, Craft in the Bay, Cardiff, Wales

2013
Setting the Scene: New Landscapes in Craft, Crafts Study Centre, Farnham
Shift, The Black Swan Gallery, Frome, England

2012
Lle Celf, The National Eisteddfod of Wales, Vale of Glamorgan
Earth / Daear, Ruthin Craft Centre, North Wales

2011
Material Connections II, Craft in the Bay, Wales
Placement - Ceramic Connections: Wales & Scotland, Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Wales and Fife Contemporary Art & Craft, Scotland

2010
Pretty Young Things, Lacoste Gallery, Boston, USA
The National Eisteddfod of Wales, Ebbw Vale, Wales
Enchanted Heritage, Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Wales & Bath Fringe, UK
La Rencontre-Y Cyfarfod-The Meeting, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Of This Century, Residents, fellows and select Guest Artists of The Clay Studio

2000-2010
The Clay Studio, USA
Gathered World, Ceramic Gallery Aberystwyth Wales

Residencies:
2014
Design Wales Forum, ‘Makers using Technologies’, two-month residency, Cardiff

2013
Heatherwick Studios, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, three-month residency, Wales

2009
The Clay Studio, two-month residency, Philadelphia, USA
Cove Park, one-month residency, Scotland

2004-2007
Afan Forest Park, three-year residency (job share), Wales

Competitions and Awards:
2015 Creative Wales Award, Arts Council of Wales, Research & Development
2012 Gold Medal for Craft & Design, The National Eisteddfod of Wales, Cardiff
2009 & 2010 Travel Awards to Philadelphia, USA, funded by Wales Arts International
2009 Creative Wales Award, Arts Council of Wales, Research & Development
2006 Creative Development Award, Arts Council of Wales
2005 Selected for Third World Ceramic Biennale, Korea International Competition
2004 Selected for First European Ceramic Competition, Athens, Greece

Public Talks:
2017 Ceramic Wales Wrexham
2016 Contemporary Art Society For Wales (CASW)
2013 International Ceramic Festival, Aberystwyth, Wales
2010 NCECA, Philadelphia, USA

Collections and commissions:
2018 Gweithdy Gallery, St Fagan’s National Museum of History
2017 Ceramic Gallery Aberystwyth, Wales
2015 Carmarthen County Museum, Wales
2014 National Museum Cardiff, Wales
2009 The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, USA
2005 Icheon World Ceramic Centre, Korea

Publications:
-The Language of Clay: Still, Catalogue of touring solo exhibition, 2017
-Ceramic Review, Profile Feature, July/August 2017
-Culture Colony Quarterly, issue 12, 2017 http://www.culturecolony.com/review/pinning-things-down
-Aur/Gold, National Eisteddfod of Wales/Millennium Centre/Craft in the Bay,
2014-01-29
-Culture Colony Quarterly, issue 7, 2015
-Craft Arts International, no 93,2015
-New Directions in Ceramics; from spectacle to trace, Jo Dahn, Bloomsbury, 2015
-Ceramic Review, Landscape, October 2012
-Ceramics Art & Perception, issue 84, 2011
-Of this Century: Residents, Fellows, and Select guest Artists of The Clay Studio, 2000 -2010. Exhibition Catalogue ISBN 978-0-9844588-2-0
-Keramik Magazin, issue 4, 2004,1st European Ceramics Competition, by Jeroen Bechtold