A new exhibition of works by the contemporary artist Paul Scott will showcase his modern approach to traditional transfer printed ceramics alongside items from his own collection that influenced and relate to them.
New American Scenery opens at The Bowes Museum on 4 April and features works of historical transferwares that have been updated for a contemporary audience.
The Cumbrian based artist has spent the last five years investigating early transferwares exported to the United States, looking at the contemporary landscape of North America and the Staffordshire origins of the pictorial ceramics.
He has worked with experts at the Stoke on Trent Potteries to create new moulds and engravings which replicate the tinted blue earthenware glaze and which are the closest things in the 21st century to follow the 19th century processes.
Scott uses the familiar blue and white ceramics, which were available cheaply in the 19th century so more commonly used than collected, to tell modern stories based on his trips travelling around America.
Influenced by Andy Warhol and his use of disintegration; Scott reworks antique wares, erasing, adding and recreating new ‘historical’ patterns by adding newly printed decals on blank ceramics or reusing cut and broken fragments.
Visitors to the Barnard Castle based Museum will be able to compare modern and conceptual works of art with what was made in the past, mostly for everyday or dinner table use.
The Bowes Museum’s curator of ceramics, Dr Howard Coutts, said: “We hope that this latest display of Paul’s work will enthuse visitors who’ll be able to see the contrasts between the old and new shapes and forms and make them think about decoration and what it means.”
Paul Scott said: “I’m really pleased to be showing my transferwares in the concise and very fine collection of historic ceramics at The Bowes Museum and to be able to complement what’s there and bring it up to date in a really lovely setting.”
Works on show will be contemporary with historical reference pieces, including, among others, a 19th century cup plate made for the American market, alongside Scott’s 21st century update featuring the Indian Point Nuclear Power Station on the Hudson River. Framed within a classic Oak leaf border pattern, the new plate has been made using a contemporary engraving by Paul Holdway, the last engraver at the Spode Works before its closure in 2009.
New American Scenery commemorates and celebrates a rich, complex historical genre that is inextricably linked to wider visual and political cultures.
Paul Scott: New American Scenery is open from 4 April until 6 September.
The Bowes Museum is open from 10am to 5pm every day. Entry to Café Bowes and the shop is free. For more information on our exhibitions and events programme please see our website: thebowesmuseum.org.uk
Notes to editors:
- The Bowes Museum was created over 100 years ago by an extraordinary couple, John and Joséphine Bowes. Together they built up the greatest private collection of fine and decorative arts in the North of England and constructed a magnificent building to house them in. The collection contains thousands of objects including furniture, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and many other items covering an extensive range of European styles and periods.
- The Bowes Museum receives a core funding grant from Durham County Council and as a Major Portfolio Museum receives support from Arts Council England.
- Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk
- The Bowes Museum has undergone major redevelopment, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, One NorthEast through the County Durham Economic Partnership, English Heritage, Northern Rock Foundation, The Monument Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, The European Regional Development Fund, DCMS/Wolfson Museum and Galleries Improvement Fund, Designation Challenge Fund, The Shears Foundation, The Richard and Suzanna Tonks Family Fund at County Durham Foundation, Durham County Council, The Friends of The Bowes Museum, The Headley Trust, Sir James Knott Trust, Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust, Fenwick Ltd, Mercers Charitable Foundation, Welton Foundation.
- The Bowes Museum is a member of the Discover Durham partnership of attractions. Our commitment is to promote Durham as an exciting and vibrant group travel destination and to provide the travel trade with a professional and knowledgeable service: hotline number 03000 262626, www.discoverdurham.co.uk