I visited this exhibition at someone else’s suggestion. It is out of my comfort zone and my direct field of interest, yet nevertheless interesting. Turner works with clay and her practice is a response to place – the river Deben in Suffolk.
The work was clean, crisp, understated and, for me, contemplative. The recurrent form of this work was the open gridded, vessel, animated through slight twists and sags. There is a wonderful contrast between the precision of Turner’s construction and the inferred influence of the less predictable, but equally manipulative, hand of the flow of the river. Reminiscent of, yet abstracted from the utilitarian these forms are rendered ambiguous through wear, abandonment and displacement. The works are resonant of the ruin, the patina of rust and on closer inspection a wonderful surface texture that is both the erosion, and accumulation of surface over time. These structures are as much the product of the rapid flow of the flood as they are the calmness and stagnation of the summer’s day. They are old, with stories to tell. The open structures are a vivid contrast to the over-scaled, glazed and incised muscle shells and claw-like objects that also make up this body of work. Their dual presence echoes the symbiotic existence of man and beast in the landscape, the result, like Turner’s use of materials, of deep understanding. As a craftswoman I can appreciate Turner’s skill even if I have little comprehension of her techniques. Her subtle handling of both form and materials to create the mood and language of her work appears effortless, a consummate use of craft skills that passes beyond the utilitarian into the expressive.
Images of the work from the exhibition can be found here: http://www.erskinehallcoe.com/exhibitions/turner-jezequel-2014