STAFFORD, England — British sculptor Phoebe Cummings makes elegant, feathery sculptures that imply great age. We feel like we’re looking at an artifact that has miraculously survived from antiquity. Only, along the way the sculpture starts to reflect back on its culture of origin, wrapping in tales of honor and gradual decline.
We wanted to showcase her practice in action, since it’s almost a performance in and of itself. To do that, we have videos from the Museum of Arts and Design and this link to Paul Haywood Photography, who has many videos of Phoebe at work. Of the artist, Paul Haywood’s site states:
Phoebe Cummings uses unfired clay to make poetic and performative sculptures and installations that emphasize material, fragility, time, creation, and decay. Working across art, design, and ceramics, she has had a number of residencies in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Greenland, including three months as a Kohler Arts/Industry Resident (2008) and six months as the Ceramics Artist-in-Residence at the Victoria and Albert Museum (2010). She was also awarded a ceramics fellowship at London’s Camden Arts Centre (2012–13).
Cummings’s work has been featured in several recent group exhibitions, including “60|40 Starting Point Series” at Siobhan Davies Studios, London; “Formed Thoughts” at Jerwood Space, London; and “Swept Away: Dust, Ashes, and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design” at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York. In 2013, she had a solo show at the University of Hawaii Art Gallery in Honolulu. Her educational background includes studying three-dimensional crafts at the University of Brighton and an MA in Ceramics & Glass from the Royal College of Art (2005). She lives and works in Stafford, England.
Her new work, Production Line (2015) shown at the Southampton City Art Gallery, grapples with the temporary nature of clay and the choreography of a material in transit.
The acquisition of Production Line breaks boundaries in conventional museum collecting. In contrast to previous acquisitions, the work is ephemeral, almost a performance, and will only exist in all three collections as an archive which includes time- lapse photography and film.
Do you love or loathe these works of contemporary ceramic art? Let us know in the comments.