Sculpture shaper Gordon Baldwin reveals his influences in Excitations at York Art Gallery

By Culture24 Reporter | 14 October 2011
A photo of a white vase with black trim and a painting of a leaping fish on it
© The Estate of Bernard Leach and York Museums Trust
Exhibition: Gordon Baldwin: Excitations, York Art Gallery, York, October 15 2011 – Autumn 2012

Gordon Baldwin has been one of Britain's finest sculptural ceramicists during a 60-year career which has included decades of teaching at Eton, inclusion in collections from the V&A to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and an OBE from the Palace in 1992.

Ahead of a major retrospective on his career which will open in York next February, this survey examines the figures who influenced Baldwin as a student painter at the Central School of Art and Design in the early 1950s, featuring works by German studio potter Hans Coper, Austrian pioneer Lucie Rie and William Staite Murray, the Head of Ceramics at the Royal College of Art during the 1920s.

Consisting of 35 exquisite creations, they include Medieval jugs, Japanese works and modernist pieces, chosen by the man himself in a survey of the techniques which drove him to forego brush for kiln.

"For the past 50 years Gordon Baldwin has been making the most radical and exciting work in clay," says the gallery's Helen Walsh, who lauds Baldwin as the UK's most distinguished living potter.

"He has been highly influential as both a teacher and an artist, and is seen as a key post-war artist who moved ceramics onto a sculptural platform away from its more traditional functional concerns.

"We were excited to offer Gordon the opportunity to select his own exhibition using our collection.

"It offers an intriguing insight into this important artist and his sources of inspiration, and will act as a perfect introduction before the show on next year."

  • Open 10am-5pm (2.30pm December 24 and 31, closed December 25, 26 and January 1). Admission free. Gordon Baldwin: Objects for a Landscape will run at the gallery from February 11 until June 10 2012.
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