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Evolution of ceramic art

Evolution of ceramic art
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A ceramic jug with a long nose and a crooked mouth, peers fiery eyes at a sobbing little cup by its side, with almost like a raging husband shouting at his poor wife. Much like all forms of art, ceramic art too has undergone transformation as artistes from across regions and cultures have contributed to the art form facilitating its evolution into its present form.

Design professional and ceramic artist, Shirley Bhatnagar, captured this evolution in a narrative and in the process shed light on modern ceramic art at a talk on Narrative in Ceramics here recently. Art conventionally has been a medium of telling stories and ceramic art is no exception.

“Miniature paintings and scrolls have always been believed to have narrated stories. Three dimensional art also does the same,” said Bhatnagar as she displayed on the screen examples from Etruscan pottery, dated between 1000 BC and 700 BC.

Etruscan pottery, which has its genesis, in modern Italy and Greece, has artworks with animated sequences of Gods painted on the walls of the vessels.

“In one of the famous ceramic works from the period, the walls of the pot depict a scene from the life of Dionysus where the god of wine and drama punishes the pirates who try to kidnap him for ransom by turning them into dolphins as they dive into the sea to flee his wrath,” Bhatnagar said.

The dolphin vase or the Kalpis, which can now be found in the Toledo Museum of Art, was made by an artiste known as the Micali painter. Askos pottery, hailing from sixth to fourth century BC Greece, is characterised by its flat shape, spouts and sprigs, that erupt from the vessel’s body.

Bhatnagar displayed a Canosan Askos work depicting Medusa flanked by two Tritonesses, as an example of work from the period.

Taking a virtual tour across the globe, the artiste gradually moved from the archaic to modern art in ceramic. Turner price awardee Grayson Perry from UK is one of her ‘personal favourites.’

The work of Chilean artiste Livia Maria seems to capture the process of distortion in the present continuous tense with “cups melting into puddles of porcelain pattern.”

Richard Shaw from USA is one of Bhatnagar’s contemporaries and is a master of the medium with his technique of Trompe-l’?il or fooling the eye. From books and baskets to a house of cards, although he makes all of these in ceramic they are bound to trick your eyes and make you believe that they are originals.
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