14 September – 2 November 2013
Dawn Youll’s vibrant ceramic sculptures are an expression of her personal environment – responses to familiar items found around her home and studio, to local streetscapes, or the kinds of things she comes across in the course of routine journeys. Her method of analysing and distilling the essence of ordinary objects, such as lean-to garden sheds and wheelie bins, to create emphatic signs, offers incisive insights into contemporary experience.
She understands the power of the ceramic ornament as a carrier of stories, memories and emotions, and notes the ways in which these items have been produced to record and commemorate many aspects of life throughout history. She points out how such ceramic forms have ‘… the ability to represent an “elsewhere” in a familiar domestic setting’, adding that: ‘I am interested in the shift of consciousness – be it a memory or a notion – that this can cause. Because the familiar allows us to make sense of our environment, I gather glimpses of it and literally lay them on the table, individual elements recorded as ceramic objects, as an investigation into how we view and interact with our surroundings.’
A recent move of home and studio has brought her new sources of inspiration. In addition to garden sheds and wheelie bins, in this recent body of work there are the traces of a shiny red and chrome motorbike, the hook of a pulley-operated clothes airer and the curve of a ladder upon a chimney stack. Through a working process that includes photography and collage, Youll seeks to abstract key aspects of form and visual rhythm from her subjects before building, slipcasting and finally glazing the elements to produce a sculptural composition. The resulting juxtapositions of both familiar and ambiguous shapes invariably hint at some kind of human intervention or pattern of behaviour, collectively creating a context of meaning. Within these allusive, highly sophisticated works the viewer finds an unexpected poetry of everyday life.