Gabriele Koch’s Statement
Although I grew up in Germany my initial desire to work in clay was kindled in Spain. Repeated visits to the interior had left a deep impression: an open desert-like landscape with simple horizon lines and strong earth colours, hints of Africa and early cultures next to contemporary artists like Antoni Tàpies and Eduardo Chillida, the organic architecture of Gaudi and strong sculptural forms of unglazed pots bearing the marks of fire on their naked surface.
There was perhaps a meeting of the ancient and the modern, the rural and the urban that led me to the making of simple forms, trying to integrate balance and tension, stillness and movement, expansion and the containment of volume, precision and spontaneity. The concept of the vessel form became central to my work, hoping to create associations with sharing, ritual and celebration, reminders of our humanity, our common history and connection with nature.
The inspiration for my current work came from looking at geological landscape and how different layers of sediment combine in rock formations. This led me to the idea of combining opposite materials like stoneware clay and porcelain. I continue to experiment with surface texture and colour, trying to express natural formations as for example recently observed in the Atacama Desert, or capture the colour of the Namibian savannah. I am exploring the different qualities of clay, celebrating the beauty of the natural material.
For this exhibition I have created a group of spherical forms including Moon Jars, forms which relate to harmony and peace. A second group consists of contrasting tall forms including Sentinels and Stones, which might evoke the idea of guardians and ritual, aspects of community. In addition there are more open individual vessels, some combining stoneware and solid porcelain, some also treated with additional porcelain slip, or porcelain slip only. All pieces are hand built and fired several times.
GABRIELE KOCH, 2022
Height: 38.5 cm. Stoneware, porcelain slip, coloured porcelain slip lines. Ref. 3.
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