Pick of the Week: 'Figure I + II' by Ian Webster
Kuaotunu-based pottery and ceramic artist Ian Webster has created some stunning new torso sculptures, now showing in our garden in Tairua! Known for his modern, reductionist approach to figurative sculpture and pottery, Ian conveys a formal and sensual appreciation for the female body. His recent works delve into more surreal approaches to figure and form, and exude a more mysterious sensibility.
Though Ian’s works are hand-built using a range of slab and coil techniques, the sleek, refined silhouettes of these busts give away no sign of the artist’s hand, demonstrating his skill and fluency in working with the medium of clay.
The surfaces are as considered and beautiful as the forms themselves; tonal gradients in complementary blue and orange hues with Ian’s distinctive subtle fine ‘freckling’ giving the works a more organic feel; the semi-glossy glaze elegantly finishing the busts.
While Figure I exhibits a more angular, minimal abstraction of the female form, Figure II is a somewhat more stylized, curvaceous representation of an almost otherworldly figure. Simple yet fascinating concerns with volume, weight and space are investigated through exaggerated features and a desire to achieve grace and balance – affinities shared with modernist sculptors of the 19th and 20th Century, such as Constantin Brancusi and Jean Arp.
Figure I (detail)
What might have been the neck and shoulders of Figure I open to the wide curved lip of a vase. Interested in the intersections between form and function in pottery, Ian’s works often occupy an ambiguous space of functionality – sculptural objects possess some of the qualities and characteristics of functional vessels.
Both figures are presented on a discreet, minimal concrete plinth, providing a neutral visual elevation of the bust from the site of display. Their ability to be displayed both indoors and outdoors exemplify their versatility as stunning art objects.
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