Ben Arnup

Born: 1954
Place of Birth: Surrey

Ben Arnup lives in York and has been making pots independently for thirty years. His father, Mick Arnup, was a thrower making high-fired stoneware in reduction; mixing English medieval and Japanese influences. They produced entirely different work in the same workspace with the same technology. Latterly Ben’s construction methods have become more complex, the colours brighter and the drawing tighter. A consistent theme has been the exploration of different ways of seeing. The current evolution of this visual game juxtaposes the description of form with the flowing patterns of the stained clay. Each pot is made from a sheet of clay which has a surface layer of stained porcelain producing clear colours which are integral to the pot. The pots are then fired to oxidised stoneware with inlays and surface applications of slips emphasising the drawn image.

Ben shows both nationally and internationally and has ceramics in public galleries in Britain and Germany, as well as in many international private collections.

"Since I was small I have relished perspective, and the simple construction of a drawn space. I remember from 4 years old being absorbed by drawing maps of imaginary places and aerial views of villages. Likewise, constructing pots is a game where I play with our perception of reality. Any wit or subtle humour in the ceramics is intended. The simple shapes and spaces described by the drawn illusion are contrasted by the solidity of clay, where the surface patterns and textures give contrary evidence, that of a shallow form. My own fondness for a matt surface with textures, perhaps with a remote pattern, has varied over the years by developing scraped course clay surfaces, sponged slips or glazes and then latterly, laminations of stained clays."

Ben Arnup's work will feature as a special presentation alongside Mark Hearld's exhibition Studio Life, February 2019.