Charlotte Barker: Flotilla (3 stars)

This article is from 2017

Charlotte Barker: Flotilla

Tactile ceramic sculptures by Royal College of Art graduate

Visiting the striking if well-hidden Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop space in the rain feels somehow appropriate to the work of ceramic artist Charlotte Barker. Her works – as the title of her Edinburgh Art Festival show, Flotilla, suggests – are like a fleet of dry-docked new vessels, kept pristine under cover as they wait to set sail. Perhaps the illumination could be better, however, for Barker has requested that the lights be kept off in the venue to allow the natural light from the gallery's many windows to offer the best perspective on her work; a dull day outside doesn't precisely capture this.

Yet the textural precision of this Royal College of Art ceramics graduate's work is impossible to miss. The majority of her potteries stand atop thin-legged, smooth-surfaced tables which look as though they were carved from found lumps of slender branch and trunk, and varnished clean. None appear strong enough to carry the weighty objects which stand on top of them, funnel-like black and white pots whose surfaces speak of a wonderful tactileness, that kind of soft, mottled purity that a stone worn clean by the ocean possesses. Again, that's another nautical resonance, although perhaps these aren't new craft after all, but fragile shipwrecks worn down by the elements.

Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, until 26 Aug, free.

Charlotte Barker: Flotilla

  • 3 stars

First major solo exhibition by the artist.