Perceptions of Perfection - the paradoxes of porcelain

Taken from "Ceramics: Art and Perception" No. 53/2003

Established in 1995 by Douwe Ouderkerken and his son, Marten, the St. Joseph Gallery in the Netherlands specialises in contemporary ceramics, glass and sculpture, and organises solo and group exhibitions on a regular basis.
Theme exhibitions of an international scale and scope such as White Porcelain - 2003 is a major undertaking for any commercial gallery.
A number of the participants of White Porcelain - 2003 are well known within the international field of ceramics and also there are newer artists in the show who work in the medium. It is the combination of both established and emerging artists working in porcelain that makes this exhibition such a showcase for the many paradoxes of the medium and exhibited by their makers.

...The extremes of the apparent 'wet' fluidity of porcelain are given artistic expression in the work of Paula Bastiaansen.

Bastiaansen's pieces are carefully conceived initially as concept drawings that then proceed to paper models before she produces the final pieces in fine ribs of clay. That she needs to know exactly what she is doing at the time of their manufacture is apparent when it is understood that she has only minutes before the material dries out and can no longer be formed.
Bastiaansen is ambivalent as to the final meaning of her work, being more involved in attaining translucency as an ultimate end - thus the works remain untitled, leaving their interpretation to others. The speed with which she has to work does not suggest the mediative state of mind that so enthrals other makers - these pieces are prickly, with an agitated sense of menace. Their spiky tendrils appear coldly frozen, cast within a fast flowing stream – or arrested mid-air in frenzied dragon-winged flight. Despite their prickly demeanour and a certain physical toughness, these pieces appear fragile and vulnerable.
The importance of particle size within a porcelain body is crucial to understanding not only its sense of (false) plasticity, its translucency after vitrification and the sound of it when struck, it also highlights another paradox - that of fragility. While translucency can allude to an apparent fragility, the nature of vitrified porcelain is, in actuality, one of toughness and permanence...

The exhibition White Porcelain - 2003 will be shown at St. Josephs' Gallery, Leeuwarden, during November/December 2003.