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Sublime Alchemy

Joanna Bird Gallery 
19 Grove Park Terrace
W4 3QE

9th May to 25th May 2019
Opening times: 11.00–18.00

Dates/Hours: 9th – 25th May 2019 (10am – 5:30pm daily, closed Sundays)
Events: 16 May 6:30pm Artist’s Talk – Akiko Hirai
Events: 20 May 6:30pm Gregory Warren Wilson Poetry Reading “Firing the Imagination”


The Spring show is aptly named, I have the great pleasure of introducing new artists with a theme of Korean and Japanese ceramics running throughout the exhibition.

The aesthetics of both cultures and ceramics are so very different and I hope that you will come to see this for yourselves, it is a fascinating subject.

I am delighted to present an important group of works by the pre-eminent Korean Master Potter, Soon-Tak Ji (1912 – 1994). Soon-Tak Ji was deemed a Living National Treasure in his lifetime and remains one of the most influential potters in modern Korean ceramics. I am very fortunate to be able to show these outstanding ceramic achievements, all of which are representative of his output at its best.

Hyejeong Kim is making new work in Korea for the show as is Jaejun Lee in Wales. Their work will add an ingredient of the very contemporary Korean ceramics available and an interesting contrast to that of Soon-Tak Ji who has built his repertoire having researched the Joseon period in depth.

Japanese potter Akiko Hirai’s style is instantly recognisable, and she too is making a new group for the show. Kaori Tatebayashi will have Still Life ceramic and framed compositions on view, while Miyu Kurihara excels in her hand painted Mini Moon jars. Energetic and intricately made vessels by Hiroko Mita will add to this distinguished group.

The presence of Moon Jars is also apparent, created by Adam Buick, glazed in seaweed or other unusual organic ingredients. Svend Bayer has offered some of his best work to date. These are more like amphora in form and character, fired in the firebox of his wood fired kiln for at least three days with unimaginable results, a perfect example of Sublime Alchemy.

John Ward’s considered understatement shows us how black manganese can appear as bronze, amplifying the transformation from clay to artefacts of great beauty through oxides, fire and air.

Also exhibiting: Halima Cassell, Carina Ciscato, Pippin Drysdale and Katie Spragg adding to this talented group of ceramic artists. Adi Toch creates shimmering, brightly coloured silver vessels and James Oughtibridge shows us how black and white ceramic sculptural forms command attention in the garden. Also, past masters Joanna Constantinidis, Michael Cardew and Lucie Rie.

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