Imaginary Vessels (For Sally)

Imaginary Vessels (For Sally) was an installation as part of the exhibition SALLY MADGE: NOWHERE BETTER THAN THIS at Newcastle Contemporary Art. The piece riffs on a number of vases made by Sally Madge at Ouseburn Pottery between 2017 and 2020 (several of which are on display within the installation). The shapes and textures of these pieces inform a risograph-printed wallpaper made up of precariously stacked, variously decorated vessels. Sally originally studied ceramics at London’s Central School of Art and returned to the medium frequently over the course of her career as an artist. Influenced by Sally’s interdisciplinary and fearless methods as a maker and educator, Foundation Press have also made a number of ceramic cups – engaging with an unfamiliar medium as an act of play and creative learning.

Commissioned byNewcastle Contemporary Art (NCA)
Further ReadingNCA Website

Installation containing 21-panel risograph-printed wallpaper, ceramic mugs, participatory drawings, table, chairs, plants, 5 ceramic vases made by Sally Madge.

A secondary reference for the installation was thinking about Sally Madge’s kitchen – a celebrated spot for good conversation and cheese scones, which many artists from the region will remember. Sally wrote that a consistent interest of hers was ‘mixing the ordinary and the extraordinary, using strategies and techniques which merge conscious and unconscious processes in creating unexpected qualities and associations from everyday actions, objects and places’. Inspired by this, the installation explores ceramics both as a medium for the fantastical and the functional – viewers are invited to draw an imaginary pot design or have a cup of tea.

Over the course of the exhibition, the installation will house a number of talks and workshops. On February 7th, 6.30-8pm, accompanied by Dr Judy Thomas (Assistant Professor in Fine Art, Northumbria University), Foundation Press will be looking at Claytopia, a workshop designed by Sally which challenged participants to build worlds with wet clay.

As part of the exhibition Sally Madge: Nowhere Better Than This at NCA. This retrospective exhibition celebrates the work of renowned north-east contemporary artist Sally Madge (1946-2020). Her rich multimedia output embraces ceramics, painting, sculpture, collage, film, installation and performance in countless contributions and collaborations in solo and group shows at home and abroad.