Asprey Studio is delighted to announce its inaugural exhibition, SURFACE 036, a presentation of over 43 sculptures by the acclaimed British artist Ryan Barrett. Drawing on his background in textiles, this astonishing body of work explores the connection between digital and physical production techniques and required Barrett to invent a number of bespoke tools, including an engineered coiling system, enlarged kilns and virtual reality (VR) software.
Alongside these innovations, he has also pioneered a range of unique ways of working clay to create sculptures that are both unique in their complexity and beauty. Mindful of the past, but driven by the future, Barrett was initially inspired by traditional Japanese methods and techniques, as well as by sculptors such as Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore and the studio potter Lucy Rie.
A self-taught ceramicist, his passion for experimentation is perhaps best exemplified by the coiling instrument he devised, which allows him to reinterpret the traditional method of creating ceramic structures, using close to 50,000 layers to form the foundation of his sculptures. Following this, Barrett then introduces other techniques, including handformed tops, the manipulation of clay bodies and the addition of other elements including colouring oxides and silk dipped in liquid porcelain.
This process allows him to create extraordinary complexity to the surfaces of his sculptures. However, this is not easily achieved. Due to the delicacy and challenges of porcelain and the scale of the sculptures – the largest in this presentation is 1.2 metres – the firing process inevitably introduces an element of unpredictability.
Alexandre de Prat i Pont, who has curated the exhibition and the catalogue, sees this process as an integral component of the work, observing that the ‘…high degree of variable elements are difficult to control and render constant surprises.’
He adds: ‘In order to create unique and irreplaceable art, one must always be different and innovative.The past is the past, and where we depart from, but we must create new and exciting works, and these sublime pieces are that."
Ali Walker, Chief Creative Office, Asprey Studio concurs: Ryan is a unique artist in that he works in VR, physical and then creates accompanying artwork that is forever recorded in the blockchain. He has created not only a future physical heirloom but also a digital artifact. That is the essence of Asprey Studio.
Says John Rigas, Asprey’s Chairman, ‘When you first see Ryan Barrett’s sculptural work you become mesmerized by its billowing sense of movement. Upon closer inspection, one begins to discover the multiple layers of creative input: the nuanced colours, nature’s shapes, the textile patterns, the burnt abstractions, the random imperfections, all coalescing to an unexpected yet harmonious balance of classicism and wabi sabi.’
These sculptures that feature in SURFACE 036 are all unique and each is presented with its companion NFT. Typically one can acquire an NFT and then have the option to materialise the piece into a physical work. However, for this exhibition, Barrett has created duo works.
These begin in a digital form of VR, then the design is transformed into the physical porcelain work. At this stage the physical porcelain sculpture and the digital file are reinterpreted to create an NFT.
The 43 works are on view at Asprey Studio Gallery until September 2023. While the exhibition is open to the public, to arrange a private viewing please contact: gallery@ aspreystudio.com.
Founded in England in 1781, Asprey has long been considered the pinnacle of luxury. Offering unique products, very often bespoke commissions completed in its famed workshops, Asprey caters to the most demanding and prestigious clients in the world, including royalty, heads of state and international connoisseurs.
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