This exhibition “Seam & Transfer” stems from Fran Siegel’s research and her investigations into early European porcelain, followed by her discovery of Paul Scott’s ceramics and her realisation that – despite their differences of form, scale and materials – on a conceptual level their work has much in common.
Two serendipitous encounters preceded her discovery. Visiting Bahian churches during a Fulbright residency in Brazil (2015), she came upon wall panels made up of mismatched historical blue and white ceramic tiles. They confounded normal expectations of ceramics and struck her as strangely rebellious. Then in 2018 she was resident artist at the Chateau de La Napoule in the South of France, where she saw examples of Sevres porcelain illustrated with botanical motifs that had migrated to Europe from China. Siegel was subsequently alerted to Scott’s Horizon, Transferware and Contemporary Ceramics (Stuttgart: Arnoldsche 2015), a book that followed an exhibition at the National Museum in Oslo, Norway (2013/14). The exhibition ‘told a story of land- scapes journeying between geographies, media and materials.’ (Paul Scott, Knut Astrup Bull, co-curators.)
Such ‘journeying’ of printed motifs and patterns on historical ceramics has long been central to Paul Scott’s studio practice. His doctoral research tracks their movements from English potteries across Europe, where they were appropriated by factories in other countries, each time used to represent somewhere geographically different.
At Wilding Cran, Scott’s cut and collaged Garden pieces play against our familiarity with, and expectations of, these traditional domestic tablewares. Their status is elevated by his use of the Japanese kintsugi method of mending, employing a mixture of resin and gold leaf that celebrates the breakage rather than attempting to disguise it. In some sense, his treatment gives rise to a poetics of transferware.
Other pieces in the exhibition reflect his environmental concerns. Printed across a cracked an- tique Danish ironstone platter (c.1850) Scott’s Cumbrian Blue(s), New American Scenery, Resid- ual Waste No. 4 (2017) shows a truck passing an oil refinery in Corpus Christi Texas. The crack has been filled with gold, ‘perhaps,’ he comments, ‘representing all those oil companies making a mint whilst the very structure of the planet is fatally flawed by their greed.’