The Language of Clay – STILL: Anne Gibbs

Anne Gibbs Studio

Anne works in a quiet studio situated in a private garden in a rural village in South Wales. There is equanimity about the studio and its occupant. For Anne, it is a place to simply be. Anne maps a regular course between her home and studio, passing landscapes and road junctions that are both constant and ever changing. These changes inform Anne’s practice on a particular day and, over time, influence how bodies of work accumulate.

Landscape is important to Anne, be it on a miniature or grand scale. Textures, colours, contrasts, layers, these all inform her aesthetic. In years past Anne worked with a landscape company. She designed and created self-contained landscapes within defined boundaries, such as roundabouts or sidings. In years since, she has been commissioned to design public artworks. For Anne, the key focus has been the site-specific nature of such, be it designing traffic calming structures or contemporary features in Welsh chapels.

Supported by an Arts Council of Wales Creative Wales Award, Anne recently undertook a research visit to Japan. The Japanese design aesthetic made a startling impact on her. Both in terms of consolidating the nature of the work she was already making and in propelling her further along a particular creative course. She was again struck by particular landscapes and her physical perspective of them. Tree-lined hillsides appearing majestic in scale but harbouring miniature tableau more akin to bonsai. Use of colour struck a chord with Anne too. In a bright white interior with stainless steel fittings tiny punctuations of red rang out. These were simply wrapped sugar cubes, deliberately placed. Take-away platters of Japanese sushi and sweetmeats appealed to Anne in their seemingly exquisite detail and because the colours were so vivid. Clean green seaweed against fresh white rice, deep pink fish, saffron yellow detail. This Japanese experience set the colour palette for Anne’s current work.

Anne is adept at considering things that she observes and experiences, be it objects, landscapes or personal exchanges. These observations and considerations manifest in her fine bone china sculptures and suggest myriad connotations. We bring our own experiences to bear when regarding Anne’s work too. These affect our viewing and what we take from the work in ways that Anne could not foresee. Once asked if she makes work for specific audiences, she replied ‘it’s impossible to target a particular audience, peoples’ aesthetics are so varied.’ Anne makes according to what she sees and feels in the world. Calmly or provocatively this may resonate with us.

For Anne, this exhibition is a summary of many different things. Things people have given her, places she’s been, scenes she’s observed and things she’s collected along the way. It is a personal map of sorts and represents her journey so far. Anne brings us still life in quietly composed miniature form.


Still by Anne Gibbs

The Language of Clay

8th April-11th June 2017

An exhibition in The Language of Clay: A Mission Gallery National Touring exhibition

Curated By Ceri Jones