Katherine Glenday, a graduate of both UKZN and UCT is at home by the sea in the Cape at Kalk Bay. However, her work is internationally exhibited from Chicago to Taipei and she is recognised as one of the top ceramic artists in South Africa today. Written up extensively in books and press articles, and following six grants & awards; 9 major group exhibitions and 4 prominent solo shows, she has work in prestigious collections world wide, such as the Museum of Art and Design in New York and the South African Museum of Social History in Cape Town. She says of her work:-
“I aspire to a quality of stillness in my work and as the years have passed the vessels tend to be increasingly simple. As I work in visual conversation with things in the natural world and with feelings, I am trying to imbue the works with a sense of lightness, stillness and poise.”
ARTIST’S STATEMENT by Katherine Glenday, 2013
The translucency which is possible when working with porcelain has become a life long passion though recently I have begun to explore other avenues of ‘painting with light’. Translucency or luminosity are endlessly courted qualities. I have also been spending more time painting and drawing, exploring the relationships between surface and form, mark making, gesture, movement and new materials.
Somehow osmotic ‘conversations’ are birthed by the simple act of bringing objects into the studio. Clay shards, rocks, shells, feathers and stones, plastic, glass and old metal objects engender many thoughts, associations and ideas. Being a painter at heart, the subtleties of colour, texture and light are important for every work and my examination of how different materials transmit these is an ongoing endeavor.
I see the vessel form as a canvas in the round. Living by the sea makes me aware that in the same way in which water transmits light and lends itself to many transformations, porcelain can be at once a container for fluid expression and also a holder of light.
The vessels that leave my studio are thoroughfares through which conversations travel, going beyond my hands, and the earthy materials they are composed from. Much of my time working with my hands is spent trying to make ideas and thoughts visible. Discipline and technical mastery involve dedication and a practice through the physical body which is as important a vehicle as the heart and the mind in the creative life.
Inhabiting the poetic and imaginal realm, and working to make this visible requires sustained ‘active dreaming’ and I have a strong belief in the transformational power of the creative act.
STATEMENT ABOUT THE ARTIST BY ROSE SHAKINOVSKY, November 2008
Katherine Glenday’s vessels defy stereotypical classification. They embody form and function, sacred and profane. They are symbols and metaphors while maintaining their implicit function as containers of air, of liquid, of sound and of silence. The clay that forms the translucent and transparent skin between the material and the immaterial. The primordial clay and the human potential to form, transform and communicate.
Katherine’s fine technical skill and ability to subtly manipulate and collaborate with her medium constantly leads her to explore the metaphysical implications of each individual form and the series it belongs to.
When encountering her work for the first time what strikes one is a sense of stillness, refinement and grace. The meditative pieces each with their own unique resonating sound and purity of form evoke a sense of clarity, simplicity and inner peace.
Katherine’s work however defies being purely essentialist, platonic and rarified, as there are parallel series that speak of fallibility, insecurity, confusion and suffering.
These forms spring out of spontaneity and chance, where the material itself suggests and inspires the direction the transmutation will take. To spill, to splash, to collapse are natural movements and sentiments.
Katherine’s desire to extend this personal dialogue even further and allow it to develop into a collaborative and collective experience is to regain the true spirit of art.