Roger LawBorn: 1941
From the early 1960s Roger Law made caricatures for publications such as The New York Times, the London Sunday Times, and Der Spiegel, which in 1984 culminated in the topical satirical television show Spitting Image. For around thirteen years he was kept busy trying to meet impossible deadlines.
When the show closed in 1997 Law did what some people thought was the only decent thing he could do; possibly ever had done. He transported himself to Australia. Having lost all appetite for modelling caricatures (his quickest record for roughing out a life-size caricature head in clay was three minutes) fortunately he retained a fascination with the surreal and grotesque. Australia has an abundance of both. He bought himself paint and brushes and began chasing rainbows.
Law travelled extensively in Australia from Arnhem Land in the north to the Coorong in the south, drawing and painting Australia’s strange flora and fauna. After years of satirising the insanity of western politics and contemporary life, he began reconnecting with the natural world again. Law’s formative years were spent in the Norfolk Fens during the 1940s and 50s. Much of the flora and fauna of that era has vanished from the Fens. In Australia, he celebrated and recorded Australian wildlife and wetlands, which are also gradually disappearing.
Hardly had Law settled in Australia before he clocked the influence of Asia on Australian art. His growing interest in ceramics inevitably took him to China. He took his Australian drawings and sketch books to Jingdezhen, China’s Porcelain City, where the Chinese have made porcelain for over two thousand years. Most years, since 2000, Law has worked for several months at a stretch in the porcelain workshops of Jingdezhen making finely crafted ceramics full of light and energy, that surprise and delight – dancing crabs, leaping mudfish and of course the platypus – as witty and beautiful as the Spitting Image caricatures were rude and ugly.
Roger Law's work featured in Transported, 30 November - 23 December 2016. A catalogue was produced to accompany this exhibition. Please click here to purchase a copy.
Pair of Mudskipper Bowlsceladon glazed, hand carved porcelainH:7cm D:22cm£650Photograph: John Lawrence Jones