Alison Britton

Britain
b. 1948

"The pot is an ordinary and recognizable object. It is a good vehicle for playing with images of disparity and connection, as between sculpture and painting, for instance, or form and fiction. This jolting pair of words is appropriate for my work, where I explore new senses of ambiguity.  I will probably never exhaust the possibilities of surprise in making pots."

Today a leading British ceramicist, Britton was one of an influential group of students who came out of the Royal College of Art in the 1970s. Their radical work challenged and deconstructed notions of ceramics and particularly functional pottery – a movement that came to be known as ‘The New Ceramics’.  

Britton has dedicated herself to making, studying and understanding pots.  Her distinctive, sculptural works blur the line between art and craft. Vessels are hand‐built from rolled slabs of clay, not thrown on a wheel. Surfaces are  painted with gestural marks referring to modern painting more than the decorative patterns we often associate with craft, or completed by pouring runs of slip then glaze across their surfaces.

Her pots exude authority and confidence, they are works that have been contemplated and carefully constructed by a dedicated maker.  Britton’s work has always embraced awkwardness and it defies classification, her work is as much about sculpture and painting as ceramics or pots.

Working from a London studio over four decades, she has an international exhibition profile, writes on current practice across a broad art and design field, and curates exhibitions.  Her work can be seen in major public and private collections worldwide, including the V&A, London; Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh; Australian National Gallery, Canberra; National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; and Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. She teaches at the Royal College of Art in London and is a Senior Tutor in the Ceramics and Glass department. She was awarded the OBE in 1990.


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