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Figure @Millennium Court

Launched during August Craft Month, this incredible exhibition of eight high profile Irish artists working in the field of figurative ceramic sculpture continues at the Millennium Court Arts Centre until the 28th of September. There are also opportunities to attend talks in figurative sculpture (Sept, Portadown & Sept/Oct, Belfast) given by exhibition curator Michael Robinson.

The pot mantelpiece figure and the more pretentious porcelain figurine in its crinoline frock, that grandma kept locked in the corner cabinet, are familiar to all. Well, times have changed…they (figurative ceramics) are no longer mere twee sentimental decorations. They have also grown in stature and can be literally larger than life. They may attract, amuse and entertain, but they are just as willing and able to challenge, shock, even offend if that is what it takes to get the message across.” Michael Robinson, Curator

Figure brings together seven contemporary artists from Northern and Southern Ireland working in the field of figurative ceramic sculpture. This exhibition which is curated by Michael Robinson includes work by Pat Connor, Michael Flynn, Christy Keeney, Lucy Meagher, Peter Meanley, Ann-Marie Robinson and Alex Scott. These artists have been chosen not simply because they are all preeminent in their field, but because they clearly demonstrate the importance of the ceramic medium in contemporary art.

Historically, the human figure has represented the most commonly addressed form in sculpture. From the 1950s forward, abstract and non-representational modes of thinking became critical to sculptors and representing the figure in more literal terms fell largely out of fashion. Recently, many artists have returned to the figure but in decidedly contemporary terms, embracing a range of aesthetics and themes.

Figure considers a wide variety of formal and conceptual approaches in Contemporary Ceramics, from more literal terms to those which are implied or symbolically stated. The exhibition opens with the “pot” figure as something familiar, something to warm to, even laugh at and moves through to the decorative, “the piece of art one selects to become a part of one’s own personal surroundings: one’s home”. From there Figure ventures into what may be, to many, unfamiliar ceramic territory. Work by ceramists Lucy Meagher or Michael Flynn, for example, explore through myth or abstraction the idea of self – anxiety, obsession, desire, dreams – and the expression of “beliefs and notions essential to us that… escape description let alone definition”.

Commissioned as part of August Craft Month 2013 and influenced by the strength and variety of the figurative tradition, this exhibition explores and celebrates the contemporary figure from objects to installations, while surveying a broad spectrum of concepts, forms and materials.

The Exhibition will be accompanied by a new publication including an essay by Michael Robinson and a series of 4 lectures entitled A Fine Figure on Saturdays from 2pm in September 2013. For more information contact

More about the series of talks on figurative sculptures by Michael Robinson can be found here (booking is required). Press release with artist biographies can be downloaded here.

Venue: Millennium Court Arts Centre, William Street, Portadown, Co. Armagh

Dates: Exhibition Launch event is 8 August, 7-9pm. The exhibition runs from 10 August to 28 September

Opening Times: Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm (Closed on Sunday)

Entry: FREE, no booking required

Enquiries: E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) T: 028 3839 4415

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Full August Craft Month Programme