The Fragility of Structure:
Body and Mind
Charlotte Maishman explores our collective commonality as flesh and bone, displaying our fragility and strength using sculpture, photography, and projection.
As a visual artist, I handle pressure points of materials to understand their eccentricities. Porcelain became the material to personify ‘mankind’. Built of more than its nature, but of all its experiences, holding memory in its plasticity. Brittle, yet incredibly strong, a complex contradiction beyond initial recognition. My process for connecting and capturing the performer, like with my materials, is made through investigation, allowing me to understand and respect areas of resistance and raw vulnerability.
This exhibition, "The Fragility of Structure: Body and Mind," includes photography, silk prints, projection, and a book. Alongside a sculpted house made from extruded porcelain and steel bolts, suspended in a steel cube. As well as being the weight of an average body, it can be seen as a symbol of home, the beginning of our gathered experiences.
"The poetics of space" is the bedrock for my study of space, both architecturally and metaphorically with the 'interior' mind. Underlying my use of cross-cultural symbolism, scale, suspension, tension, and contextualisation of the ‘interior' and 'MA' (the spirit of spaces) in the overall composition.
I am drawn to this area of inquiry through a desire to invite empathy and attention to our collective nature as strong, but also fragile. As we endure in this journey we are all tentative, crumbling clay, made of flesh and bone, built of positives, negatives, and many unknowns, all deserving exploration beyond first appearance.
Porcelain records every movement of thinking, every change of thought
Made by binding the soft flesh of Pentuse, with the brittle bones of Kaolin clay
Through construction it holds trace, Influenced by all its experiences
As the extruder births the clay into form
Many scar and warp
Those with too much trauma
Those that survive, move in tension
From foundation, through fire, and on
To collate, bolt after bolt
Into a rhythmical mass of sonorous plains
Now a husk, where we are all found
To know the cuts, curled edges, hidden traces beneath the glaze
Search beyond bold builds
See more than the nicks on each knuckle
Find that all our bones are brittle
Hold weight, until they crack
Extracts from Artist book
Reviews from Degree show
The Scotsman "...It would be easy to see the current zeitgeist for ceramics as coming from a desire to return to hands-on processes after too much virtual experience, but ceramics have been enjoying a resurgence in art schools for several years. Still, it’s hard to look at work such as Charlotte Maishman’s impressive installation in the Cooper’s Lower Gallery and not see the shadow of the pandemic..."
The Skinny "...Charlotte Maishman's haunting house installation similarly stages a confrontation with mortality. Its skeletal form is made of porcelain, fastened together with steel bolts, and weighs the same as an average human body. It’s an eerie reminder of the body’s vulnerability and strength; the image of an empty house seems to symbolise the losses we’ve collectively experienced over the past few years..."
The Courier "...Charlotte Maishman has ingeniously crafted her sculpture of a house from porcelain segments that are both strong yet brittle..."