This month’s features are Bartosz Beda (front cover) and Marion Stuart

Bartosz Beda uses harrowing subject matters to deliver paintings that are aesthetically alluring. Emulating current affairs, Beda develops a discourse between himself and the viewer. Beda’s work has been chosen for this month’s front cover which depicts a complex debate using a calm colour palette, thus juxtaposing the subject against the image.

Marion Stuart works with ceramics to develop a narrative through images and text oxidised on to the works. The fragility of the porcelain delivers a contrast between the object against its context.

Marion studied a BA in Fine Art Ceramics in Bretton Hall West Yorkshire adjacent to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park from 1995 to 1989. The effect of being so close to sculpture is that her own work has is motivated clay as a medium for artwork. She has always been interested in the use and power of words and from her degree, she has used books as a starting point for her text based artworks. Opening her own studio in Norwich in 2011 she has been experimental in her work and has now moved back to her fine art roots and is re-examining printed word in clay. Recent exhibitions include 'Poetry in the Visual' Aveiro Portugal for 2015, 'Selected Artists Exhibition' Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios 2015, 'Breaking the Mould' Stew Gallery Norwich Norfolk 2015 and this summer she is creating a site specific artwork for the The Culture Show Trail , in Bideford North Devon.

Marions artwork is seen an exploration of vessels in porcelain paper clay and the fragile impermanence of life.  She creates broken and fragile dishes, houses and boats, and delicately balanced precarious ladders reaching to the heavens. Installations and vessels have been shown on light boxes to create a subdued atmosphere a reverence, church like spaces. 

Her work is an exploration of the fragile impermanence of life, the thin vail between life and death. Marion uses the thematic starting point of text, in handwriting and printed form. Symbols used in her work reference literature, such as gold illumination, religious and mythological stories such as Jacobs ladder and of the ferryman Charon. For a long period of time Marion has been using automatic writing to explore her thoughts and reactions to events in her life by using books and blocking in selected words and text. Text and automatic writing underpin her concepts, the flow of the unconscious as a stream of thought across the paper white clay. She uses underglaze and slip to silkscreen text onto porcelain paper clay.

Marion explores creating mould made, paper porcelain clay pieces, using her own plaster moulds in boat like forms. Ceramic forms are of vessels and containers, these echo boats and houses made from porcelain paper clay slip fired to 1230 degrees in an electric kiln. Marion has taken inspiration from the remnant, tooth-like shipwrecks, to depict grief and journey. Boat forms, tidal housing all connect to her family links with the North Devon port of Bideford. Decorated with simple matt glaze to add sheen, colour is from cobalt and manganese oxides which echo the ink with some gold lustre to illuminate the calligraphy.

Tiny porcelain houses have started to appear on her horizon and they march in on raised legs to create safe places, much like tidal housing. They are imprinted with details like sycamore seeds and script; they have a glow from inside where gold gleams like lit fires. Some are ruined buildings as if bombed and shattered.

The newest addition to Marions work is the broken mended pieces using resin embedded pieces of printed text. Marion strives for the lack of functionality in the ceramic forms, holes, broken, fragmented, impossibly thin and fragile then mended yet not enough for any use. In her destruction and reconstruction of these pieces she has created a metaphor for the process of creativity itself. The Japanese roots of ceramics are embedded in her use of porcelain, the Wabi Sabi* nature of the ware, use of calligraphy as art, and Kintsugi** is referenced in the visible breakages and gold additions.

*Wabi-sabi (??) represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete".[2] It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (??? sanboin?), specifically impermanence (?? mujo?), the other two being suffering (? ku?) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (? ku?). reference Wikipedia

**Kintsugi (????) (Japanese: golden joinery) or Kintsukuroi (????) (Japanese: golden repair) is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-etechnique.[1][2][3] As a philosophy it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. reference Wikipedia