Anna Miles Gallery

Richard Stratton

Porcelaneous Vessels of Karori

05/03/22 — 09/04/22

At the bottom of a steep, slippery, native bush lined track in a Wellington garden is the headquarters of Richard Stratton’s clay industry. The recently constructed studio, looking something like a Hobbiton variant on the McCahon House at Titirangi, is as Stratton eloquently puts it, “a Shinto shrine to repurposed materials.”

Stratton’s distinctive ceramic stream of consciousness results from the productive friction between his encyclopedic knowledge of arcane industrial clay technologies and unrestrained curiosity about any controversy in the social fabric

This exhibition showcases a bifurcated selection of the artist’s recent production. The first grouping begins with the Te Papa Fishbowl Teapot. The advent of lockdown meant Stratton was entirely restrained in his ceramic cul-de-sac. He pursued his interest in flower bearing vessels, embarking on a series of footed, covered vases, and developing a preoccupation with art nouveau and aesthetic movement ware. He read all he could about Kinrande, a red overglaze historically used on Sixteenth Century Ming porcelain, and a trope of European Japonisme, before it was banned in Asia due to toxicity. The Twentieth Century American art pottery masterpiece, Adelaide Robineau’s The Scarab Vase sometimes known as Apotheosis of the Toiler, became a subject of special interest. The carving of its porcelain ornament, based on scarab beetles pushing their eggs uphill, is said to have taken more than a thousand hours.

Perhaps inspired by Robineau and marooned by lockdown, Stratton immersed himself in turning earthenware vessels into “porcelaneous carriers of godawful troughs of information.” Emerging from lockdown he turned his attention to a new series of hand-built porcelain teapots. Adorned with such things as embossed Shih Tzu dogs and casts of polystyrene packaging material from family Christmas presents, he describes these works as ‘the carry on carry on’ — the Stratton equivalent of ‘waking up from the nightmare and having a cup of tea’.

PLEASE NOTE: The first Stratton works in the exhibition are illustrated here. 7 additional teapots (the ‘carry on carry on’) will arrive at the Gallery Friday 4 March and be uploaded here later on Sunday 6 March. For a List of works including prices please contact Anna am@annamilesgallery.com or +64 21471047
All photographs by Samuel Hartnett

See earlier work by Richard Stratton

More about Richard Stratton

The Nightmare Urn, 2021 (Detail)
200mm H x 150mm W x 100mm D

The Nightmare Urn, 2021 (Detail)

The Nightmare Urn, 2021 & Trying to Get Out of a Nightmare Teapot, 2021

Trying to Get Out of a Nightmare Teapot, 2021
200mm H x 220mm W x mm D

Trying to Get Out of a Nightmare Teapot, 2021 (Detail)

Trying to Get Out of a Nightmare Teapot, 2021 (Detail)

Te Papa Fishbowl Teapot, 2021
110mm H x 205mm W x 125mm D

Te Papa Fishbowl Teapot, 2021 (Detail)

I Dislike Marzipan Urn, 2021
190mm H x 125mm Diameter

I Dislike Marzipan Urn, 2021 (Detail)

I Dislike Marzipan Urn, 2021 (Detail)

Drifts Around Like Smoke Urn, 2021
195mm H x 125mm Diameter

Drifts Around Like Smoke Urn, 2021 with Tulipa Xgesneriana by Karin Montgomery
See more work by Karin Montgomery

Drifts Around Like Smoke Urn, 2021 (Detail)

Industrialised Grief Jardinière, 2021
195mm H x 430mm W x 230mm D

Industrialised Grief Jardinière, 2021 (Interior)

Putin’s Rooster Teapot, 2022
200mm H x 240mm W x 115mm D

Keep Your Eye on the Ball (Shih Tzu) Teapot, 2022
235mm H x 175mm W x 150mm D

Keep Your Eye on the Ball (Shih Tzu) Teapot, 2022 (from above)

The Muddy Clown School, 2022

No Parking Zone, 2022, from The Muddy Clown School
100mm H x 205mm W x 125mm D

No Parking Zone, 2022

Mad Cow Dance Party, 2022, from The Muddy Clown School
90mm H x 210mm W x 125mm D

Mad Cow Dance Party, 2022

Doughnuts and Burnouts, 2022, from The Muddy Clown School
105mm H x 195mm W x 135mm D

Doughnuts and Burnouts, 2022

Alice and the Puriri Tree, 2022, from The Muddy Clown School
100mm H x 185mm W x 135mm D,

Alice and the Puriri Tree, 2022

VOC Teapot, 2022
150mm H x 190mm W x 70mm D

Detritus Teapot, 2022
145mm H x 175mm W x 160mm D

Put the Children in Front Urn, 2022
188mm H x 165mm W x 65mm D

Put the Children in Front Urn, 2022 (Reverse View)

Richard Stratton was born in Ōtepoti Dunedin in 1970 and graduated from Otago School of Art in 1993. In 2010 he was awarded the Dowse Art Museum Deane Award for Decorative Arts & Design and in 2015 took up a residency at the Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Centre, Denmark. In 2017 he was awarded the premier award at the Portage Ceramic Awards. His Dowse Art Museum exhibition, Living History, toured the country in 2017-8. Stratton’s work is represented in public and private collections in Aotearoa and overseas including those of Auckland War Memorial Tāmaki Paenga Hira, Dowse Art Museum and Te Papa Tongarewa.