Title: Box No.5
Artist: Ben Arnup
Profile: Ben Arnup: Trompe l’oeil Pieces Each piece is the result of a clay making process developed over the past 20 years. Ben uses rolled out sheets of clay, in leather hard state, before shaping and assembling entirely by hand. The method results in a pot that is ‘hand engineered’ down to the surface colour, drawing and patination – all of which are applied after assembly. An opening might be made in the front surface serving both a technical as well as an aesthetic purpose. The pots are fired twice; the second firing is currently an oxidized firing to 1270C. He produces approximately 100 pieces per year. Ben Arnup Son of the well-known animal sculptor Sally Arnup, and the painter and potter the late Mick Arnup, Ben initially trained as a landscape architect, qualifying in 1980. It was whilst between landscape work, in 1984, that he made a group of ceramics at a college in Reading. Almost immediately, a gallery bought the entire collection – selling out within a week. Spurred on by this experience, it took him two years to set himself up as a full time ceramicist. Since 1986, he has been producing studio ceramics, of a particular form known as trompe l’oeil (from the French meaning: ‘deception of the eye’). Following the award of an Arts Council Grant in 2008, Ben has been exploring in more detail the properties of clay when it is subject to destructive forces. “My latest work has allowed me the opportunity to explore and develop new ways of working, and is resulting in entirely new pots. This ‘fragmented’ clay is difficult to control and has compelled me to rethink how I assemble pots – resulting in the use of new materials and techniques”, says Ben. His work is largely sold through galleries and is held in various public and private collections around the world. Ben usually seeks to show two or three times a year and has exhibited widely, including exhibitions in the U.S.A and Europe.