Twelve new, monumental ceramics made in China by Felicity Aylieff are to be shown for the first time in Britain at Canary Wharf as part of the company's series of exhibitions Sculpture in the Workplace.
These large, porcelain structures are experimental, vital, and bold. Up to three metres in height they are also truly impressive. During a sabbatical from teaching at the Royal College of Art, Aylieff took up residence from August to December 2006 at the Pottery Workshop Experimental Factory in Jingdezhen that helped arrange for her to work with a family business specialising in making 'Big Ware', enormous traditionally-formed and decorated porcelain vases. Aylieff used traditional techniques of building and decorating, but moved away from Chinese form and surface pattern. Both she, and the Chinese technicians who helped and advised her, worked together in finding new ways to make shapes that were different from their tried and tested vases. Aylieff also worked innovatively with traditional pigments in expressive surface painting. She also carved into the surface of some works, which, together with over-painting using Chinese calligraphy brushes, extended her practice of layering colours to gain great depth of surface.
After Canary Wharf, the exhibition will travel to Gallery Oldham in February 2008, the first venue of a short tour.