Artists Arnold Annen
Three porcelain virtuosos: Arnold Annen, Angela Mellor, Margaret O’Rorke.
“A number of principles can be deduced. The first is that materials embody a certain destiny, or perhaps a certain vocation in terms of shape.”
This classic dictum by Henri Focillon, from Vie des formes, 1934, acquires powerful contemporary relevance when viewing pieces by Arnold Annen, Angela Mellor and Margaret O’Rorke. The "vocation of shape" is what a material tends to become, what is intrinsic in its nature; in accordance with a concept common to the most important 20th century avant-garde art movements, it is the artist's task not to stress the chosen materials, but to work with them in respect of their identity, a task that requires experience, technical skill, emotional empathy, and even courage in experimentation.
In the case of the artists shown in this exhibition, the degree of identity that can be seen between the authors and the works has reached the point at which one can understand how the chastity of porcelain, its intrinsic tendency to appear abstract in itself, verging on non-materiality, can become an elemental value of the artistic operation, because shape exists in space inasmuch as it exists in light, and is fuelled by light.
These artists have decided to work directly with light – whether natural or artificial is of no importance – considering it as part of the work's final form, considering it not a fortunate coincidence, but fundamental to style and expression.
Annen's vision moves from shapes of natural origin to inventions that could be described as mechanisms of wonder. Mellor's pieces are more closely linked to the natural world. O'Rorke, on the other hand, approaches moods of abstract geometry isolated from living life. The techniques of all three artists are influenced by the perfect translucency of porcelain and its tendency to become a sculpture of light, a spatial design.
Annen, Mellor and O’Rorke are fully conscious of the fact that the physical and physiological characteristics of the work reveal its complete intellectual potential, in the uniqueness of the act of creation. Their works exist in the world, and in some cases they modestly suggest a possible function. They are truly the material embodiment of thought and feeling, expressive identity and formal exploration, consciousness of space, and of the physical and evocative dimensions of light. To summarize, they are the result of a creative process embodying freedom itself.
They reach a sort of source of ideas, which rise from these clean and sensuous forms, reaching our eyes, in the spaces of our lives.