Per B Sunderberg – idyllic yet brutal beauty

Much like many ceramicists of Sunderberg’s generation, there is little written about the artist. For myself, to describe the ceramic vessels of Per B Sunderberg as inefficacious would be inaccurate.  Sunderberg’s work in terms of ceramic technique does all the wrong things in the right way, it pushes the boundaries of texture and glaze to new and exciting levels, a sense of play and explorative glazing techniques is clearly apparent. The glaze is infectious, absorbing, transformative and takes over the form, hints of the black body creep through the contrasting white crawling surface, this in turn creates a juxtaposition between the two surfaces with striking effect.Although the object is very much rugged and stark, there is a sense of tactility, malleability, tension between materials and plasticity present in all of the objects shown.



2_2176095_vasesculpture-made-by-per-b-sundberg-sweden-2013.jpegThe sculptures/vessels invite us to engage with the work on a intimate level, they become objects in which we are able to explore the subjectivity of language in material objects and ceramic inquisition, Imitating materials through glaze, the objects are familiar. The objects look as if they have been formed from the spaces that surround our immediate natural environment. (Featured above) the vessel reminds me of upturned soil or that of a mole hill due to the coarse brown glaze body. Sunderbergs vessels look as though they have been  raised from the core of the earth and presented as archeological studies of molten rock. Sunderberg through his objects demonstrates the transformative power glaze can have on clay materials and further our understanding.



Rafa Perez -shaped by volcanic heat: material tension

Maybe this is just a side effect of the cold rain hitting my windows, but I really appreciate the way fire appears to have left artifacts of itself behind in the finished products. It’s an obvious recipe, clay and fire, but it’s so plainly seen on these works. Many of the forms have tissue-thin layers, shearing apart like shalestone. Others show the glaze splitting and cracking. I’m reminded of the way paper burns, the way it flakes apart before finally turning into ash. The glaze looks like paint still clinging to the walls of a burned house. Heat is so present in these works. It’s a wonder they aren’t steaming, even as they sit in the gallery. Rafa Perez – Copyright © 2016 C-File

Perez`s work is certainly distinguishable, his ceramic sculpture, material use, and techniques are rather unorthodox with regards to traditional ceramics, yet, this is what undeniably makes his sculptures so unique. Perez’s sculpture looks as if they have been dug/pulled from the ground. The layers within the body are reminiscent of the layers of sedimentary rock that we see on geologic television documentaries or we tend to see at the beach or within traditional seascape paintings.An emphasis on material tension and exploration is incredibly apparent.




Perez’s sculptures remind me of the work of Ewan Henderson, perhaps this is due to the irregular textural qualities of their work and naturally occurring phenomena both artists are interested in, thus tend to communicate. Unlike Henderson, the selected sculptures of Perez seem to project an absence of colour, a coldness; which is interesting yet ironic due to the high firing process the sculptures are exposed to. The combination of earthenware and porcelain clay body’s fracture, melt and become one, hosting and projecting the process they have undergone, giving emphasis to the unstable nature of ceramics that many people do not experience.

Material exploration – materials,extrusions and slips 

To start my investigation I have begun to explore how different slips and clay body’s react to one another focusing on play and form, with Memory, sensibility, and intuition at mind. The reason for this mini test series is purely explorative, it is a starting point to begin to understand how different clay forms work and contrast together, to begin to challenge the plasticity, malleability, and rules of the material. I am interested in the tension between clay materials, how two clay body’s may pull apart from each other due to different shrinkage rates, in result forming cracks on the surface of the object, how the motion and direction of slip may apply a sense of gravity and weight to the object.


Amongst the maquettes, What appeals to me the most is the oozing characteristics of porcelain slip upon the extruded tubes, (featured at top). I am unsure at this moment in time why I am pulled toward this material characteristic, perhaps it is simply aesthetically soothing and appealing, or possibly something more, some form of material memory perhaps ? an associative relationship between materials – porcelain and perhaps cement? a memory/material sensibility trigger of sorts.

The idea for these mini maquettes was to begin to try and denote some form of material context to these extruded shapes, to push the possibilities and aesthetics of these objects. By altering the texture of the clay body am I beginning to alter how we perceive these objects? Smooth and industrial – textured and earthly? If we begin to alter the textural surface of an object do we begin to perceive that object in a new light? Is this because we denote certain feelings to certain textures and materials ?. It will be interesting to see how these objects react to one another in the kiln, perhaps the surfaces will completely reject one another and simply crumble apart.


Although consuming these objects, to some degree the objects still retained a memory of their shape which was interesting, much like for example, a sunken battleship that has been left on the bottom of the ocean for 100’s of years.  Although the ship has been abandoned, claimed by the sea and the creatures that inhabit the ocean, much like the extruder sculptures the shape and thus memory of that object are very much distinct and recognizable. You could say it’s an almost reverse Pareidolia. Pareidolia referring to the psychological phenomenon in which  (an image or a sound) wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern of something where none actually exists, so in peculiar yet hilarious scenarios (when people see Jesus in burnt toast) for example.