Martin McWilliam

with Terra in China 2016 participant in exhibition Tree Art Museum – Beijing (October 2016)

He defines his work as “ pots in essence”.They seem to contain depth and volume but prove to be almost flat when inspected more closely.The geometric manipulation of shape and the subtle decoration are combined with the texture achieved by wood firing in the Japanese Noborigama oven.Since spring 2009, his thought process has developed in terms of his view of dimensions.In his most recent work, he is looking for a multivariable pot, with dimensions not directly perceivable for us, but which exist in a parallel world, linked with contrasts such as positive versus negative and inside versus outside.

After McWilliam’s China artist-in-residence period in 2014:

My time in Sanbao was a very intense, concentrated time – nicely directed by Wenying. I liked the space its surrounding and the very good food. A little unnerving was that the theme I had been working on the previous half year and intended to pursue in Sanbao seemed to be looking at me everywhere. I had the uncanny feeling I had been there before. But when?

Douglas Adams wrote in one of his prefaces: Most civilazations go through 3 stages of development. The how – the why and then when. For example – first – how do we feed ourselves? Then – if you solve that – fully indulged – you will be confronted with – why do we eat (so much)? if you manage to clarify that then the only question you are left with is – when are we going to eat tonight?

So for me receivingthe invitation to asnbao was a bit like answered the third question – where am I going to make my next piece of art! The ceramic artist Grayson Perry gave an amazing talk for the BBC last year and he moved it on from how-why-where to a Who – why – where. The boundaries of contemporary art are not formed by what art can be, but where it’s made, by whom and why.

So Who Why Where and I add when as an important ‘who-why’ ‘who-where’ and ‘why-when’ sounds almost like Chinese.

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