David Roberts | Evolving Forms ; A fusion of images...

Each month our Emmanuel Cooper Gallery, (the dedicated exhibition space sited towards the rear of Contemporary Ceramics Centre) hosts an exhibition showing the work of an individual maker or a selected group of makers.  To accompany our regular posts which look at new makers on display, we are adding a monthly exhibition focus.

David Roberts

David Roberts | Evolving Forms

4th - 27th April 2019

The unity of process through photography, drawing and making found across this exhibition; David Roberts | Evolving Forms, is described beautifully in a short text written by David.  The landscape of his exhibition; the rise and fall of rounded cylinders, of curvaceous bowls... reflects his surfaces of  'Weeping Landscapes' and 'Ripples'.  His text sheds light on how he brings the process of photography to his work, exploring the connections between the camera, drawing and making.

David Roberts | Vortex

David Roberts | On Photographs

"First the subject matter. My work has always been landscape orientated, initially my focus was on my local Yorkshire Pennine Hills. Eroded rocks, stone walls, and paths/tracks...being reflected in both the form and surfaces of my ceramics. Following a visit to Milford Sound, New Zealand my work was informed by drawings and photographs of the dramatic water patterns rushing down precipitous rocks to the ocean over 1000 feet below. The lines of water describing and highlighting the landscape's form. Many of my vessels from this period were titled ‘Weeping Landscapes'. A few years after Milford Sound I participated in a symposium in Eastern Croatia based next to an oxbow lake with beautiful ripple patterns constantly changing with different lights and winds. Photographs of these phenomena are amongst those displayed presently in the Contemporary Ceramic Centre. My vessels have now evolved from ‘Weeping Landscapes’ to ‘Ripples’ as seen in the exhibition.


David Roberts | Photographs (exhibition view)
The photographs are digital so they are not developed in a dark room as in film photography however they are subject to modification in an editing suite. Like ceramics I am very interested in the photographic process and how the combination of different speeds and apertures can radically modify images. I was brought up in the age of film photography and although I use a digital camera it is on manual setting so I can physically alter the size of the aperture and the digital equivalent to film speed. I love black and white photography. To my eyes it gives great depth and intensity to the images. It also has relevance to my monochromatic ceramics.

David Roberts | Evolving Forms (exhibition image)
As with my drawings the photographs are independent of, but related to, my vessels' surfaces and in some cases the forms being both a focus and inspiration for my ceramics. When working I do carry specific photographic images in my head when painting the linear patterns which decorate my current forms. The ceramics are a result of a fusion of images derived from observation, drawings and photography plus modifications and enhancements resulting from the Raku process. They are not topographically ‘realistic’, being more abstract and metaphorical in nature. "

David Roberts, April 2019

David Roberts | Evolving Forms (exhibition image)


  1. It has been marvellous watching Dave Roberts' work evolve since the early 1980s


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