Art in Focus – September 2023
Philip Eglin is an exciting ceramic artist. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1986 and being awarded the Jerwood Prize for Applied Arts ten years later, he has produced an outstanding series of works. They range from small functional vessels to large-scale figurative, sculptural pieces. Traditional craft pottery designs they are not. Eglin’s vessels feature a collage of imagery ranging from eBay merchandise to risqué Victorian postcards, from footballing heroes to post-punk graffiti. They also draw upon a deep knowledge and understanding of the history of classical fine and applied art. Many works are angry, subversive, and topical. Madonnas, popes and crucifixes appear frequently in his work. His sharpest, rawest criticisms are directed at the Christian Church’s moral failings and cover-ups. In one series, seated religious figures, reminiscent of Francis Bacon’s Popes, sit enthroned but are covered in shaming graffiti. That said, a crucified Christ also recurs in his practice, like this plain white, porcelain figure, arresting in its simplicity. The figure is made from a series of moulds taken from everyday items; his loincloth, for example, is a detail lifted from a ubiquitous baked bean can, his thighs from a glass tumbler. It speaks of a lingering respect for the ‘man of sorrows’.
Art in focus is curated by Meryl Doney
Image ©Philip Eglin – used with permission