Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Visit to Tony Lattimer, Ceramic Sculptor, in Penzance

Tony Lattimer’s monumental ceramic sculptures show how far he has
journeyed in his artistic life. Now centred in the far reaches of West Cornwall his sculptures sit equally well in the intimate space of his gallery in Penzance, where they take on the appearance of so many attendant figures, or in the bleak openness of the Lands End peninsular complementing the granite monoliths scattered in the exposed landscape.
Tony has evolved a ceramic form of expression that although it has resulted in very large pieces, has an undoubted human connection. Witness the number of viewers drawn to hug the examples in Tony’s gallery. And who could doubt the particular presence of so many standing figures in the eerily lit WW2 bunker that serves as his unique exhibition space in a field near Lands End.

His work also presents a feeling of place demonstrated by the rugged slab built shapes and the use of local clay slips providing a contrasting palette of white body and free applied dark marks. His surface layering, glazing and firing techniques result in organic textures and, big as they are, Tony’s sculptures demand close inspection and handling by the viewer. An element of Wabi Sabi is never far away in much of Tony’s work, many of the marks and surface treatment arising spontaneously during the making of piece.
Large ceramic sculptures require special building techniques, special equipment and not least a large kiln. Tony and his wife Kathy together continue to develop the processes needed to make, fire and transport such pieces, a scale of operation alien to average potter or ceramicist.
Tony’s dedication to his art is exemplified by turning “a perfectly good four bedroom Victorian house into a Gallery with a one bedroom flat above”, the building of a studio and kiln in a Lands End field and the conversion of a dank bunker into a truly contemplative space for his work. Tony and his wife are generous with their time and knowledge and anyone visiting Cornwall would be well advised to make for Penzance and see these unique ceramics. Hugging is allowed!
by Barry Marshall-Johnson

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