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Ceramic sculpture

Kathy Venter, Immersion Study, 2019, Immersion series, polychrome ceramic, 10 x 19 x 9 inches  


Using earthen substance to create art and functional items was common since the time of earliest cave paintings. Clay is one of the oldest materials for sculpture, either used as the main medium or the cast for other later materials like bronze. It has developed in different periods from ancient times to the modern and contemporary era. Clay was used widely in the world, from east to west, as a medium for art and architecture. Artists are still using the same materials to produce clay and ceramic sculptures. Using the new technology and equipment for heating and glazing improved ceramic art during centuries.



Clay was a medium to create art in many ancient civilizations, like Rome, Mesopotamia, and China. In several cultures, sculptors made vessels combined with a sculptural form. Historically, artists air dried the clay and then they fired it in a kiln in high temperatures (600-1200 °C)[1]. The results of heating the clay are the increase in strength and durability and retaining the solidity of the shape. Dating back 25,000 years, water containers and small figurines were the most common forms of clay and sculpture.


Contemporary ceramic sculptures

Because clay was used in the production of art objects since ancient times, today, it is one of the most diverse ranges of the medium in existence. Clay is a plastic and flexible material that provides different methods to create art with it. Contemporary artists have different techniques and approaches for modeling and motivation[2], which makes their work unique. In the 1970s some Canadian ceramicists started to bring in the concepts of land into their clay works. They manipulated the clay forms and the glazes to emphasize on Canadian landscapes, mountains, and horizons[3] such as Robin Hopper and Walter Dexter in British Columbia. Many Canadian artists are still using the traditional art of ceramic sculpture. In Winchester Galleries, we represent Canadian ceramic artists such as Victor Cicansky, Wayne Ngan, and Kathy Venter.  




[1] ‘Art & Architecture Thesaurus Full Record Display (Getty Research)’. Retrieved 21/06/2019.

[2] ‘Ceramic Sculpture’, Ceramic Arts Network, Retrieved 21/06/2019.

[3] ‘Contemporary Ceramics’, The Canadian Encyclopedia, Retrieved 03/07/2019.

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