Tuesday, 16 September 2008
With such an intriguing title as Thinking is Clay, which features the work of Nobuko Tsuchiya, a trip to the fashionable (ring the door bell for admittance) Anthony Reynolds Gallery (60 Great Marlborough Street W1, until 4 October) was one I could not refuse. Although making use of such diverse materials as metal, wire, wax, resin, fabric, plastic, there was no clay in sight. One piece, North West Passage, suggests a wealth of associations – direction, chill, sea, transit, change, endurance, labour, discovery – though the sculpture, illustrated, has an intriguing anthropomorphic quality, which I enjoyed. Standing in the centre of the downstairs gallery, it also recalls a slightly dishevelled ship of state, but one with which I could identify. The artist does confess to responding to ‘a material through its very nature and the “mindset” I perceive embedded within it’. She goes on to say that she uses ‘the texture of thought as a primary material, trying to use “thinking” as a kind of “clay”.’ I enjoyed the show, but did wonder if at some point Nobuko Tsuchiya would be drawn to discover the subtleties of clay and thinking and material could be united. Why don’t ceramists tax us with such thoughts?