Preaching to the Birds
Preaching to the Birds is Claire Curneen’s debut exhibition in the gallery. Eight ceramic works, in porcelain and black stoneware, entwine mythological, ancient and baroque themes to create a narrative which the artist continues to explore in contemporary terms. We see the nymph, Daphne turning into a laurel tree, a half-human bird woman and a figure reclining, as if cast in the lava of Pompeii, but decorated with blue and white glaze, traditional imperial signifiers of wealth. As one of Ireland’s & the UK's foremost ceramic artists, Claire Curneen’s figures are laden with historical references and the exquisite textures and striking beauty of the objects echo some of the imposing Catholic iconography of the Renaissance.
Much of Curneen’s motivation to create these delicate humanesque structures derive from an unending curiosity about the cycle of life. Birth, death and the fragility of human existence between these two events is somehow best brought together in the epic diorama ‘Baroque and Berserk’ about which Curneen says “Figures jostle with birds, trees, branches and broken pottery; the status quo has been disrupted. Tension arises as the decorative and unadorned, elaborate and raw, all come together in this fragmented reality.”