David Roberts

The Meaningful Vessel

24 March – 3 May 2018

David Roberts exhibition - David Roberts work - David Roberts ceramic

David Roberts. Eroded Vessel, 2016 h. 27 cm, diam. 52 cm. Private collection, courtesy Galerie de l’Ancienne Poste April 2018

Recognized as the ultimate reference in European “Naked Raku”, ceramic artist David Roberts has had few exhibitions in France in spite of being internationally renowned for his large-sized bulbous forms, a purely western interpretation of the original Japanese tradition.

Through his personal exploration, Roberts has transformed this traditional technique into a vibrant and contemporary art form. The process has enabled him to engage with pictorial expressions related to the landscape, in particular his native Yorkshire hills.

The artist aims to create new ceramics that carry a vision clearly anchored within the twenty-first century, as evidenced by the fifteen pieces gathered in the exhibition and created in the course of last year.

“The Meaningful Vessel”… Rarely has an exhibition title carried such significance. “Meaningful” can be understood here as expressive, eloquent as well as open to interpretation, while “vessel” has the dual meaning of container or craft, both of which imply a carrying function. The world of David Roberts, an English ceramic artist born in 1947 in Sheffield, is conveyed perfectly in this exhibition. His earthenware pieces do not claim to be utilitarian or functional in any way, as he likes to emphasize, but rather they are the repository of his ideas and his sensations as an artist and a human being. […]
Introduced in the 1970s to Raku, the Japanese technique used for making bowls intended for the Tea Ceremony, Roberts has since become one of its most dexterous practitioners and has also inspired its rediscovery in the United States. Most importantly, he has created his own language of “Naked Raku”, a complete absence of glaze on the object’s surface that leaves the material entirely free to express its primary nature. Ripples, erosions and fault lines thus make up the stanzas of a universal chant.
David Roberts’ works are displayed in many museums across the world.

Valérie Bougault
Art critic

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