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Mary-Jane Evans

War-torn cities, dinosaur fossils and destroyed art inspire thoughtful ceramics

by Genevieve Aniello in Culture on 30 July 2012

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Sculpting work based on images from conflict-ravaged cities, British ceramist Mary-Jane Evans presents adaptations that somehow resonate with the same sense of destruction as war itself. Inspired by places like Beirut that are seen every day on local news bulletins, she started creating these individual buildings—entitled "Cities" and "Ruins"—that eventually develop into large-scale pieces. Evans' most recent work "Ruins" is currently being presented in the Summer Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Art in London .

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According to Evans she begins each piece intuitively to allow the structures to evolve and develop on their own throughout her process. To create a burnt effect she multi-fires the ceramic at 1,300 degrees Celsius and adds corrosive materials such as copper and oxides. Evans' violently affected ceramics compel observers to look beyond the physical appearance of her pieces in order to contemplate the inevitable destruction of war.

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For "Coast Series" Evans drew inspiration from the fossils littering the coastline of Dorset in the South West of England where she grew up, crafting wall-mounted pieces she created from her own photographs of the beach treasures. The same Jurassic inspiration carried over to the site-specific installation "Trails," which, explains Evans, "evolved and grew and finally ended in destruction.

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Evans recently ventured into creating smaller pieces of art that double as one-of-a-kind jewelry. The ceramic necklaces, buttons, and rings appear to be shards of a greater piece of art or destroyed structure, allowing the owner to be connected to the artist's original mission.

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Evan teaches many of her personal ceramic techniques in workshops run in her studio, as well as in a course at Kingswood School in Bath. The Summer Exhibition containing Evans' work will run until 12 August. For more information on Evans and her work visit her website.

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