Quest, the first collection of monumental sculptural ceramics by Alexander Macdonald-Buchanan, has its London debut in the lobby of One Canada Square, Canary Wharf.
Known for his success in making large-scale garden ceramics, in 2011 Macdonald-Buchanan embarked on an ambitious project - a quest - to create works of art in clay. The resulting pieces were made in three different series, charting his progress, the first of which comprised five tall vessels, made to the height of the artist’s shoulder and fluted horizontally from the base to the top in sharp inward curves. The form captures the light, which creates tonal changes across the surface at regular intervals. His use of white stoneware clay, subtly coloured with cobalt, manganese or iron oxides, when glazed gives a soft surface sheen. Named Contemplation, these vessels look as though they have been carved in stone and lightly polished.
In total contrast and with increasing confidence, in the next series, Energy, Macdonald-Buchanan took the form of a helix, again sharply defined, and applied an intense, matt blue glaze. These four vessels are confident forms, with a strong and insistent presence. A new work, Energy 2, 2016, also in the form of a helix, was made especially for the exhibition at Canary Wharf. Standing at 3.89 metres high, this is his largest sculptural piece to date.
Three large spheres, titled Revelation, complete this body of work. Here Macdonald-Buchanan used in combination different coloured clays, together with either gold or platinum leaf applied to some of the surface after firing.
Macdonald-Buchanan’s Quest collection was first shown in the Inner Court at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire in September and October 2015. The four Energy sculptures have kindly been loaned by The Devonshire Collection, with two of the Contemplation series also loaned by a private collector.
Some works are for sale. Each of the Contemplation series is made in an edition of 2, and the Energy series in an edition of 8. The monumental Energy 2 is an artist’s proof and each of the Revelation sculptures is unique.
Curator Ann Elliott talks to the artist about his work on Tuesday 15 March at 6.30-7.15pm. The tour is free but please contact Canary Wharf Public Art Office to reserve a place