It's good to be flawed by art. To be so completely blown away by artistic and technical merit that it takes a little while for it to sink in. I really, really liked the recent Pippin Drysdale exhibition, Desert Crossings, at Mossgreen Gallery. I have seen images of Pippin's work in the past and have surprisingly not been particularly moved by them, so I was completely unprepared for the impact of seeing her work in the flesh.
First there was the scale, each piece so much grander than I had imagined. Then there were the forms themselves- so resolved, so complete. Pippin employs a thrower, Warrick Palmateer, a fact duly recognised in the exhibition catalogue and at the opening. Having recovered from my initial 'whoa' at the size of the works I was again taken by surprise when I walked over and peered into the closest vessel. I had expected a flat internal base from which the walls rose but was thrilled to find an uninterrupted continuous curve. The forms were faultless. Truly amazing.
Then there were the colours - colours that I didn't even know existed and colours that I certainly didn't know I liked. There was an orange inside some vessels that was so intense it almost hurt your eyes and a light green that seemed to float.
It felt like a lesson in colour. Some of the combinations you could expect to be gaudy but with the Pippin Drysdale treatment the balance is perfect. A harmonious chord is struck and the colours become vibrant, living. A perfect testament to the landscape from which she draws inspiration. Other forms are more muted and subtle in colour, which is where my taste usually lies, but done in such an informed, delicate way I felt humbled.
And just to complete the experience I must admit to sneaking a feel. I couldn't resist, the surface was calling me. Incredible. Despite all the lines and colour combining the surface was entirely smooth like butter. More than just a satin or burnished finish it felt like the glaze was soft. How does she do that?!
Can't tell you how glad I was I went. I can find enjoyment in all sorts of ceramics at a variety of levels but vessels made by an artist of this calibre is what truly inspires me.