Neil Brownsword – Thingness 2011

In Neil Brownsword’s work, there is a distinctly subversive negation of traditional craft and technical skill – a subtle response to the more difficult aspects of long labour in the Stoke potteries from an artist who also, paradoxically, has great admiration for those skills. His delicate and poetic amalgams, further fused, warped and mutated by their resubmissions to the kiln, have a strong sense of regeneration… Rarely has the oozing, coagulating, brittle detritus of clay, re-formed and re-fired into another state of permanence, been so intelligently and eloquently expressed. Nor has the history of ceramic manufacture in one place been so elegiacally and poignantly recorded.’

The reason for highlighting specific elements within the text above is that for myself these are the quintessentially important factors that underline Brownsword’s work. taking on the role of an artist/archaeologist, Brownsword unearths/ salvages by-products from the histories ceramic production and regenerates these symbolically charged vestiges of labour into poetic abstract amalgams of self-reflection. Using his hometown of north Staffordshire as an excavation site  Brownsword Through metaphoric explorations of absence, fragmentation and the discarded, his work signifies the inevitable effects of global capitalism which continue to disrupt indigenous skills and a heritage economy.

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