Mind Forged brings together three artists’ practices that, while ultimately divergent, have crossed paths and exchanged influences at critical junctures.
Eduardo Paolozzi and Sam Herman both taught together at the Royal College of Art from the late 60s. Paolozzi continuing his hugely influential tenure into the 90s, whilst Herman – having firmly established the principles of the Studio Glass Movement within ‘The Royal’– then moved to Australia where again he acted as a pioneer in introducing studio glass to a new audience.
Latterly, Lubna Chowdhary, a fellow ceramicist and student of the RCA in the early 90s, was engaged with Paolozzi in a somewhat push-pull, student-teacher dialogue that was to be of some influence to the evolution of her own practice in both architectural ceramics and sculpture.
Crucially though, the aesthetic of all three artists can be seen as complimentary in regards of their mutual unflinching explorations of colour, form, aesthetic beauty and an engagement with pre-existing forms / ready-mades. Chowdhary, Herman and Paolozzi are each remarkable for their synthesis of simultaneously absorbing extant influences and developing their own highly distinct artistic voices and styles. Mind Forged seeks to present both the links and the distinctions to full effect, and to celebrate each artist in turn – the work and the artists being much more than the sum of the show itself.
It is the heart of the act of making, of the rending and reforming by hand, by air and in the heat of the furnace, that ultimately unites the iridescent surfaces of Herman’s glass works, the sumptuous textures and glazes of Chowdhary’s wall-based ceramics and the cool, darkly patinated cast bronze of Paolozzi. The latters 6ft bronze Vulcan - god of the forge, craft and fire - fittingly stands at the centre of this exhibition, presiding spiritually and physically over the fruits of these three artists’ labours.