Dialogues - Alison Britton
Taste Contemporary is proud to present Dialogues - a solo exhibition of work by leading British ceramic artist, Alison Britton. A pivotal figure in contemporary ceramics, she helped to redefine the course of British studio ceramics in the late 20th century. Born in 1948, Alison Britton was part of an influential group of artists who graduated from the Royal College of Art, London in the 1970s. The experimental and radical approach taken by these artists, who also included Jacqueline Poncelet and Carol McNicoll, led to an artistic and cultural shift in the 1970’s and early 1980’s that became known as `The New Ceramics`. Challenging established traditions, these artists deconstructed existing norms as they explored ‘new’ expressive territories in their work.
Over the decades, Alison Britton would go on to exhibit in a number of seminal exhibitions including The Maker’s Eye  and The Raw and the Cooked , which she also co-curated with Martina Margetts. Today her work is widely collected and can be found in the permanent collections of numerous museums worldwide including the Art Institute of Chicago; Musée des Arts Décoratifs Paris; National Museum of Modern Art Kyoto; National Museum Stockholm; the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the Princessehof Museum, Leeuwarden. It can also be seen in the Victoria & Albert Museum London where, in 2016, she was accorded the honour of a solo retrospective. In 1990, she was awarded an OBE in recognition of her services to the arts.
Alison Britton’s distinctive sculptural work have always resisted classification. Rather than thrown on a wheel, it is hand-built from rolled slabs of clay and exuberantly covered with markings by pouring and painting slip. Displaying the perfect union of ceramic sculpture and modern painting, Alun Graves, Senior Curator of the V&A, has described her objects as ‘marked by ambiguity and contradiction, sitting between the sculptural and the everyday.’ For Dialogues, Britton has created a number of new works that include playful vessel forms and vibrant wall pieces.
Most of the work in Dialogues was made after the UK lockdown in March 2020. The accompanying catalogue contains an essay by design historian, Tanya Harrod, who concludes that at a time when ‘many of us felt alone and frightened. Alison Britton went into her studio and made some of the most thoughtful ceramics of her long and distinguished career. To create art in such difficult times is admirable and moving in itself. To produce such profound work in a world of alarming new vocabularies and unfamiliar rules seems just short of miraculous.’
Dialogues can be seen at the Taste Contemporary gallery at Rue Abraham Constantin 6, Geneva from 17th September to 24th October 2020.