As an artist I feel that it is my job to filter and translate these experiences and share them in the pursuit of truth. It is my goal to achieve a kind of clarity, to make complex things understandable and perfectly obvious so as to give pleasure to anyone looking. I think that the work is the manifestation of the kind of thinking that tries to produce links between signs far away from each other, exploring feelings and sensations from the past, present and future to create original paths.
There is a final element to the work that I would like to draw attention to. Madeleine Bunting articulates this element when she talks about the wilful degradation of the environment and how that new sense of preservation and guardianship (as opposed to ownership) is influencing the way we do things in everyday life 'Belonging can be reinterpreted and that's where a host of seemingly unrelated cultural responses to our predicament seem to be forging a new understanding'. She goes on to say 'the anonymity and homogeneity generated by globalisation leaves us drifting and disorientated; the organic food movement is, in part, about putting back the geography'. I would like to draw parallels with the way an artwork is produced. As an artist I have dedicated my professional life to understanding and forging an intimate relationship with clay just as I have forged intimate relationships with people and places that have grounded me. This kind of thinking has had a profound effect on the way I felt about the physical process of making this body of work. In a way I feel like I have followed on from my last major exhibition 'Throwing lines' which had many connotations mainly to do with the nature of touch as an abstract concept. Lesley Jackson (freelance writer, curator and design historian) wrote in my 'Throwing lines' catalogue 'drawing attention to the abstract qualities of Arroyave-Portela's work is crucial. Although his pots are evocative of natural phenomena, his response to nature is lateral rather than literal'. She goes on to say 'the contours on his vessels are eddies of the imagination'. Ultimately I felt that by exploiting the qualities of clay and drawing on those literal associations with the Earth I could start to tap into the psycho geography of place to express our primal and often overlooked intuitive relationship to the land of our birth and or ancestors. With that in mind I leave you with this powerful extract taken from "Iyani: it goes this way" by Paula Gunn Allen.
"We are the land. To the best of my understanding, that is the fundamental idea embedded in Native American life and culture in the southwest. More than remembered, the earth is the mind of the people as we are the mind of the earth. The land is not really the place (separate from ourselves) where we act out the drama of our isolate destinies. It is not a means of survival, a setting for our affairs, a resource on which we draw in order to keep our own act functioning. It is not the ever-present "other" which supplies us with a sense of "I". It is rather a part of our being, dynamic, significant, real. It is ourself, in as real a sense as such notions as "ego", "libido" or social network, in a sense more real than any conceptualization or abstraction about the nature of human being can ever be....Nor is the relationship one of mere "affinity" for the earth. It is not a matter of being "close to nature". The relationship is more one of identity, in the mathematical sense, than of affinity. The Earth is, in a very real sense, the same as ourself (or selves)."
Born Oxford, England
Bath College of Higher Education, Bath
From between 2006-2009 I have been developing a new body of work and have felt it important not to have any major exhibitions up to now.
Selected solo Exhibitions
Solo exhibition of 'Todo Sobre Mi Padre' and 'Consciousness' at the Craft Study Centre Farnham. The installation piece 'Consciousness' was originally commissioned by the Craft Study Centre for the exhibition that took part in January-March 2012.
Solo exhibition at Contemporary Applied Arts London, 'Todo Sobre Mi Padre' Catalogued.
Solo Exhibition with Helen Drutt , Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia U.S.A.
'Throwing Lines' - A major solo touring exhibition, City Art Gallery, Leicester. Brewery Arts, Cirencester. The Pea Rooms, Lincolnshire. Gracefields Arts, Dumfries. The Mac, Birmingham, Catalogued.
Beaux Arts, Bath
Beaux Arts, Bath
'Passage of Water', Beaux Arts, Bath
'Exempla' at the Internationale Handwerksmesse, Munich 6th-12 March. Exhibiting the ceramic installation 'Consciousness' as well as demonstrating throwing.
'Eastern Vistas' , Smiths Row , Bury St. Edmunds 15th September- 3 November 2012. Group show of various media on the theme of immigration.
Collect at the Saatchi Galleries London with Contemporary Applied Arts
SOFA New York with Contemporary Applied Arts
Contemporary British Studio Ceramics at the Mint Museum (the private Collection of Marc and Diane Grainer)
Collect At the Saatchi Galleries London with Contemporary Applied Arts.
'Hats off to Helen', A Tribute to Helen Drutt at The Clay Studio Philadelphia.
'Sculpted in Clay' a group show including Daniel Allen, Felicity Aylieff, Kate Malone and Carol Mcnicoll at the Millennium Galleries Sheffield.
Galerie Anderwereld Katuin, Groningen, Holland. Sofa New York , Helen Drutt.
Two person show, Carlin Gallery Paris
Group show, Gallery Norby, Copenhagen, Denmark. 'Home Sweet Home', A British Council exhibition touring Scandinavia, Australia and New Zealand. 'Poetics of Clay', an international perspective, curated by Helen Drutt, Philadelphia U.S.A.
Awards and Grants
Young Achievers celebration at Buckingham Palace
One of six prizes awarded at Talente, Munich
First prize, Nache, Ceramic Contemporaries 2, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Crafts Council setting up grant
'Home, Hogar' Arts Two building, Queen Mary, University of London
The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
The National Museums and Galleries, Merseyside, Liverpool
Leeds City Gallery
The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA
Houston Centre for Contemporary Art
The Mint Museum, USA