ARTIST FOCUS / Paul Scott

Blue & White / 17 July - 5 September

'My work uses the language of transferware and collage, drawing on the cultural wallpaper in our minds and updating a classic decorative genre. My collages are both digital and material, the latter juxtaposing physically edited tablewares with traditional repair processes'.

 

 Paul Scott (b. 1953) is one of the most astute political commentators studio ceramics has produced. His playful interventions, particularly those of his blue and white china pieces, thoughtfully and provocatively chart and investigate (as he puts it) “the cultural wallpaper in our minds”, subtley subverting the domestic familiarity of familiar patterns and images to make us think about the complexities of history and contemporary society through transfer ware and collaging. He has combined the traditional familiarity typical of blue and white pastoral scenes with unexpected and incongruous vignettes of environmental and political incursion and other subjects. Mass-produced printed images such as those used by the pottery industry offer consolation and reassurance, but Scott uses his subversion of such work to hit home the thorny issues that affect us now. Scott, who studied at St Martin’s College, Lancaster in the 1970s, lives and works in Cumbria.

 

David Whiting

 

Cumbrian Blue(s) New American Scenery, Across the Borderline (Trumpian Campaigne No:5) by Paul Scott is a new piece of work currently on display in our exhibition Blue & White. 

 

VIEW ALL AVAILABLE WORK IN BLUE & WHITE

 

Between 1846-1852, Staffordshire tableware patterns of the French Revolution were re-labelled Texian Campaigne creating an American export transferware set … the ‘new’ pattern depicted various 'romanticized views of the U.S. War with Mexico'….

 

In New American Scenery the pattern is updated for the twenty first century as the Trumpian Campaigne series. 

 

Across the Borderline is a song written by Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, and Jim Dickinson and first appeared on the Cooder album Get Rhythm. It has been recorded by many other artists including Bob Dylan & Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson, Tom Russell….

 

There's a place where I've been told

Every street is paved with gold

And it's just across the borderline

And when it's time to take your turn

Here's one lesson that you must learn

You could lose more than you'll ever hope to find

 

When you reach the broken promised land

And every dream slips through your hands

Then you'll know that it's too late to change your mind

'Cause you've paid the price to come so far

Just to wind up where you are

And you're still just across the borderline

 

Up and down the Rio Grande

A thousand footprints in the sand

Reveal a secret no one can define

The river flows on like a breath

In between our life and death

Tell me who's the next to cross the borderline

 

En la triste oscuridad (In the sad darkness)

Hoy tenemos que cruzar (today we have to cross)

Este río que nos llama más allá (this river which calls us further away)

 

But hope remains when pride is gone

And it keeps you moving on

Calling you across the borderline

 

Figures standing next to the border fence are adapted from details of early 20th century Wedgwood American souvenir wares. 

 

Text and images courtesy of the artist.

 

August 10, 2020
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