The work on show is by two people. One of them is me, and the other is slightly different. At the time of writing, I am a woman in my early forties. I am a practising artist or craftsperson and the anxiety I experience on a daily basis – the angst and frustration that proceeds from everyday urban life – finds an acceptable outlet through my creative practice. Calling yourself an artist legitimises material output that would otherwise be considered abnormal: evidence of emotional or mental instability. Consciously showing this material output to people further increases the potential for acceptance. If you make things and show them openly to other people in an exhibition you are an artist of some kind, and the things you make are some kind of art. If you make things and hide them in cupboards or boxes, you are something altogether different.
These objects were made by a woman who is dissatisfied with contemporary expectations around her role and responsibilities. These expectations are genuinely held external assumptions as to what she should be or do - as revealed through her material relationships with others and in parallel with her internalised self-image. The dissatisfaction manifests as a series of materially obsessive rituals, designed to subvert the domestic norms by which she feels bound. She attempts to remake her environment as a reflection of how she really feels, rather than simply following the patterns or instructions handed to her.
The work on show is by two people. One of them is me, and the other is a person that does not call herself an artist of some kind. She and I grew up together until the age of six. She makes things and hides them in cupboards and boxes. She makes things for herself – to express and to understand her own private logic – and not for an audience or public. She is not concerned with the discourse of contemporary craft and has no desire to find out about it.
Laura Potter studied at UCE Birmingham (1990-1993) and at the Royal College of Art (1995-1997). Her work is rooted in a set of specialist skills and interests, which are driven by her training as a jeweller and craftsperson, but her practice is defined by neither of these terms. Her work has been exhibited in the UK, Europe and the Middle East, and most recently a collection of artefacts, Goldweights of the 19th Century Colonists, has toured across Australia. This recent work explores notions of cultural identity and misconception, through the production of faked, semi-believable objects. Potter has also been involved in collaborative projects aimed at widening public perceptions of, and engagement with, contemporary craft. As a founding member of experimental design syndicate DWFE, she has developed proposals that look at how artefacts, systems and material culture can offer some degree of relief from the emptiness of contemporary living. Since 1998 she has lectured at Goldsmiths College (London), and joined the RCA in 2005 as a tutor in Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Jewellery.
This Marsden Woo Gallery exhibition is curated by Tessa Peters.