Sara Flynn

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SARA FLYNN



SARA FLYNN 8 June - 7 July 2022

15 Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street, London, W1S 4SP www.ehc.art | mail@ehc.art | +44 (0) 207 491 1706


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The most intimate relationship in a sculptor’s life is the one they have with their materials. Like any relationship, it is a bond forged over time through a daily negotiation of character, attitude and quirk. On some days acquiescence is embraced for the sake of an harmonious collaboration; other days necessitate a more combative exchange, tackling disagreements head on, not in search of a resolution but simply to push into a deeper, more intimate coexistence. Sara Flynn’s relationship with porcelain has been a long and passionate one. A demanding partner, Flynn has worked with and against the clay’s intractable qualities to create sculptural vessels that appear as if they have only temporarily found their form, or might continue to evolve and shape shift. Perhaps what we encounter is only a momentary truce between artist and material? Each work might aspire to a certain shape or volume but Flynn readily admits that it can take unexpected directions. These are vessels that are resolved yet always questioning; they are so compelling because they are charged with an ongoing sculptural potential. Two large white bowls at the heart of this group of new works embody Flynn’s process and material relationship with revealing clarity. Like most of Flynn’s work, they began life on the wheel, their delicate walls teased upwards to form shell-like volumes that cup the air. At the point at which they might have reached a seemingly happy balance and graceful symmetry, Flynn deviates in her approach. The words of the great potter and teacher Dora Billington, who wrote that a thrown pot ‘must be done and left, for retouching can only spoil it’, have been studiously ignored. Instead, Flynn intervenes with a cut that disrupts the vessel’s smooth emergence, sending the pliable plane off in new directions. Sequences of sinuous folds and wrinkles evoke the movement of liquid the bowl might have been made to contain; the container becomes the contained. In this dichotomy the vessel’s rim becomes a crucial threshold, drawing a line between inner and outer space. In Flynn’s work, and in these new bowls in particular, this threshold also marks a juncture between different temporalities at play within each work: between the speed and efficiency of the wheel and the slow and surgical slicing and suturing of newly created seams and joins which give rise to the organic architecture of Flynn’s pieces.


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Disrupted though it may be in Flynn’s hands, the centrifugal movement of the wheel courses through each of her vessels - it is a movement we must in turn adopt to enjoy the formal choreographies as they play out across their surfaces. Our eyes and hands travel across them as we might navigate a weather-worn stone or ancient landscape, an association that is amplified by Flynn’s growing inventory of glazes - from her characteristic deep blacks to azure blues, mossy greens and silty browns. The colours have been plucked from nature’s palette, muted but with a greater depth and complexity of effects than in earlier works, the results of Flynn’s obsessive testing and experimentation. A sensuous array of subtle textural variations unfolds across each work, from a solid and glossy or a deep velvet that appears to absorb any light that hits it, to a mottled pattern that blooms and spreads like moss or bacteria. Like the restless forms of her vessels, Flynn’s glazes pulsate with growth and life. The movement encountered in each of Flynn’s vessels is amplified by the conversations each work has with others. Her sculptures occupy space in a very particular way, imparting the sense that, even in isolation, each is always searching out another, their twists and turns finding their corresponding or complementary form in another. Where some artists’ vessels work best in isolation, Flynn’s thrive in company. This inherent empathy is brought to a heightened intensity in Green Group, the only multi-part installation in this new body of work, bringing together seven forms arranged in a tight but lyrical configuration. Complex open bowl forms nestle around quieter bottle-like vessels; the journey across the composition, which rises and falls like an urban skyline or mountain range, is beautifully paced. And in this grouping, and indeed through all the works in this exhibition, we come to understand that Flynn is not only a sculptor of clay, but of space itself.

Andrew Bonacina

Chief Curator at The Hepworth Wakefield


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Folded Vessel, 2022

Spine-Camber Vessel, 2022

porcelain

porcelain

12.5 x 32.5 cm

9 x 10.5 cm

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Folded Vessel, 2022

Camber Vessel, 2021

porcelain

porcelain

15.5 x 37 cm

22.5 x 15.5 cm

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Camber Vessel, 2022

Inner-Cut Vessel, 2022

porcelain

porcelain

35 x 24 x 20 cm

7 x 11 cm

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Camber Vessel, 2021

Inner-Cut Vessel, 2021

porcelain

porcelain

27 x 31 cm

28 x 11.5 cm

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Inner-Cut Vessel, 2022

Inner-Cut Vessel, 2021

porcelain

porcelain

6.5 x 11.5 cm

8 x 10 cm

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Esker Vessel, 2022

Inner-Cut Vessel, 2021

porcelain

porcelain

20 x 10 cm

24.5 x 16 cm

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Esker Vessel, 2022

Camber Vessel, 2020

porcelain

porcelain

21.5 x 9.5 cm

27.5 x 12 cm

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Spine-Camber Vessel, 2021

Esker Vessel, 2021

porcelain

porcelain

10.5 x 21 cm

29 x 9.5 cm

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Camber Vessel, 2021

Green Group, 2022

porcelain

porcelain

17.5 x 15 cm

31 x 68 cm

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Inner-Cut Camber Vessel, 2022

Esker Vessel, 2022

porcelain

porcelain

35.5 x 14.5 cm

23 x 11 cm

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Inner-Cut Camber Vessel, 2021

Esker Vessel, 2022

porcelain

porcelain

35.5 x 14.5 cm

18 x 11 cm

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Bottle, 2022

Spine-Camber Vessel, 2022

porcelain

porcelain

23.5 x 9 cm

14.5 x 10 cm

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Bowl, 2021 Camber Vessel, 2022 porcelain 17 x 17 cm

porcelain 5 x 8.5 cm SF-0363

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Bowl, 2021 porcelain 6.5 x 7.5 cm Bottle, 2022

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porcelain 29 x 11.5 cm SF-0360 Bowl, 2021 porcelain 7 x 9 cm SF-0365

Bottle, 2022 porcelain 28 x 10 cm

Bowl, 2021

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porcelain 6.5 x 10 cm SF-0366

Bottle, 2022 porcelain

Bowl, 2021 porcelain

20.5 x 9.5 cm

5.5 x 8.5 cm

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Sara Flynn b. 1971

Portrait of the artist by Glenn Norwood

Sara Flynn attended the Crawford College of Art and Design in Cork, where she trained in ceramic design. In her final year of study, she began experimenting with porcelain, which she has worked with exclusively since establishing her own studio in Kinsale in 2000, and then in Leap, West Cork in 2006. She now lives in Belfast and her work concentrates on decorative vessels in porcelain and abstract forms in bronze. Flynn’s career began by producing small, functional pots, and her work has developed entirely into one-off forms which are purely sculptural in their intent. It is distinguished by tactile surfaces and a rich spectrum of colours ranging from cool and subtle whites and celadons to rich and complex greys and blacks, and which has grown to include yellows, oranges, pinks, greens and blues. The meticulous attention to detail in choosing both the forms made and the glazes applied results in work that is particularly refined and elegant. Her work is featured in many international public and private collections. She was shortlisted for the inaugural Loewe Craft Prize in 2017, and was a member of the Experts Panel for the prize in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022.


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Selected Exhibitions

2016 2015 2014

Sara Flynn, Erskine, Hall & Coe, London, UK Making and Momentum, a group exhibition curated by Richard Malone that toured Eileen Gray’s home in the South of France (2021), the National Museum of Ireland and Wexford (2022) Sara Flynn, Galerie de l’Ancienne Poste, Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, Toucy, France Sara Flynn, Erskine, Hall & Coe, London, UK Sara Flynn, Sokyo Gallery, Kyoto, Japan Sara Flynn, Erskine, Hall & Coe, London, UK Chance Encounters 3 - Lionel Wendt, Richard Smith, Sara Flynn, curated by Jonathan Anderson, Miami Design District, Miami, FL, USA Disobedient Bodies, JW Anderson Curates, The Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield, UK Sara Flynn, Erskine, Hall & Coe, London, UK Ontogeny, Millennium Court Arts Centre, Portadown, Northern Ireland Sara Flynn, Erskine, Hall & Coe, London, UK

2012

Sara Flynn, Erskine, Hall & Coe, London, UK

2022

2021 2020 2019 2018 2017

Public Collections The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA (gift of Michael and Tamara Root) Columbus State University, Georgia, USA The Crafts Council, UK Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, Cork, Ireland The Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth House, Chatsworth, UK The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK (gift of Sir Nicholas and Lady Judith Goodison) The Gardiner Museum, Toronto, Canada The Hunt Museum, Limerick, Ireland Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Embassies Collection (Irish embassies in Canberra, Australia, Madrid, Spain, The Hague, The Netherlands and Beijing, China) Loewe Collection National Museum of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland Office of Public Works, Farmleigh House, Dublin, Ireland Shanghai Municipal People’s Government, China The Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK (purchase funded by Christopher M. Gorman-Evans)


Awards 2019 2017 2016 2010 2007 2006 2005

Merit Award, The Golden Fleece Loewe Craft Prize Finalist Merit Award, The Golden Fleece Winner of the Peter Brennan Pioneering Potter, Ceramics Ireland Award Travel Bursary Award by the Crafts Council of Ireland Travel Bursary Award by the Crafts Council of Ireland Research and Development Award by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland

Residencies 2019 2013 2011

A month-long residency at the Koryu Centre in Sasama, Japan, generously supported by The Golden Fleece Award A six-week residency at Hope University in Liverpool, UK, in partnership with the Bluecoat Display Centre and supported by The Crafts Council of Ireland A month-long residency at FULE International Ceramic Art Museums in Fuping, China


Photography by Stuart Burford Printed by Park Communications Copyright Erskine, Hall & Coe, Ltd Design by Erskine, Hall & Coe, www.ehc.art