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Research: human figure in clay

Having leafed through the book 500 Figures in Clay (Lark Books, New York, 2004) for figures that I like I’ve realised that I am not keen on the human form shaped into 3D in clay. The more realistic the figures were the less they appealed to me. Maybe their emotional impact is too immediate for my taste. However, I do like a painterly representation of the human shape or parts on very abstract shapes or pots that don’t imitate the human shape. But then, it may just be the choice, however wide it seems to be, that is presented within this book.

This realisation seems even stranger to me as I have in the past quite often modelled the human form into clay – especially in form of masks. On reflection, these were hardly ever realistic but more abstract and not representations of faces but clearly masks, thus represent an artefact.

This figure is the one that appeals to me the most of all the 500 in the book. The human form is very abstracted with most of definition depending on the surface decoration. Its silhouette is reduced to shoulders with head and a set of ears. The surface decoration is both painterly and restrained through its limited colour palette. I really like the mark making on the surface. This is a piece full of character in itself and of a person of character.

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