A painter and sculptor, Betty Woodman turns both disciplines upside down and gives them a good shake. Using lacquer paint on earthenware and a slip glaze intended for ancient ceramics on paper, caution is thrown to the wind. This disregard for established norms opens up a space for making that is fresh and exciting. Despite this apparent rejection of the establishment, Woodman’s work is rooted in art historical references including Minoan and Egyptian art, Greek and Etruscan sculpture, Tang Dynasty works, majolica and Sèvres porcelain, Italian Baroque architecture, and the paintings of Bonnard, Picasso and Matisse.
Ceramics are the backbone of Woodman’s practice with the vase having become, over time, her most salient subject. At once a vessel, a decorative object, a figure, a metaphor and an art historical reference she adorns them with decorative patterns and imagery. This painterly sensibility also manifests itself within large colourful drawings and paintings. This exhibition is a marriage of the two mediums which very much embodies the theatre of the domestic.
At 86 years old Betty Woodman is one of the most important, and coolest, contemporary artists working with ceramics today.
The exhibition runs 3 February 2016 - 10 April 2016 at the ICA, London