For her third exhibition at the gallery, Francis Upritchard presents a new series of clay pot sculptures that are the result of her residency at the Lux Art Institute this past winter in Encinitas, CA.
Upritchard is an adept collaborator and these works are evidence of a natural chemistry between artist and place, in particular between her and the artisans working in the Lux ceramic studio. Thrown on a pottery wheel, faces emerge from the otherwise smooth surfaces, augmented by painted marks, patterns and glazes. Her pots evoke a sense of artifacts or anthropological objects but resist those categorizations—challenging the viewer to look again, inviting a level of mystery and implying a level of understanding that avoids capture. Installed on a series of plinths that recall the kind of didactic presentation common in museums, Upritchard makes a nod to the tone of wonder often conveyed through the institutional presentation of objects.
Also, on view are a series of small-scale works on paper. These drawings are sketched in washy volumes of watercolor and depict vessels, figures, and fluorescent lizards. Painted in a loose freehand, they foreshadow many of the marks and patterns that emerge on the surfaces of her ceramics.
Additional works made by the artist at the Lux Art Institute’s residency program while be included in a much-expanded forthcoming exhibition of new work at the Barbican museum in London this Fall. Upritchard’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and Christchurch Art Gallery, NZ (2017); the Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA), Melbourne, Australia (2016); and at the City Gallery Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand (2016); The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2014); the Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan (2013); The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Ireland (2013); Nottingham Contemporary, UK (2012); Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati (2012); and the 53rd Venice Biennale, Italy (2009). She lives and works in London.