Talks with David Roche 2018

SALA Artist Talk & Viewing, On Reflection: the ceramic art of Geoff Mitchell | Thursday 9 August 6PM

Amidst the sumptuous surrounds of The David Roche Collection, the richly detailed ceramics of Geoff Mitchell, with their interplay of myth and history, create bounded worlds of narrative play. The world we live in is not a world of objects but of people, their emotions and relationships, the subjective world of human perception. It is the world of the narrative where we reflect on the truths of human existence. The narrative world is not the world of fact, it is the place of choice and action.

On Reflection is a self-conscious experiment in a layered visual narrative that makes use of features more typically identified with contemporary literature, while drawing deeply on European traditions of both ceramic craft and representative art. This is a narrative game where the viewer is invited to discover overlays of history and myth, hidden allegory and metaphor. One object, one image, refers to another, often in playful ways and so stories are drawn together, each referring to one before; and so backward. In this way On Reflection draws on myths and legends of Europe’s cultural past.

It is no easy thing to put new work into the context of the collection at Fermoy House, a collection where everything is made to the highest standards of craftsmanship. It is a place perhaps too full and extravagant, but also a place rich in history where each object is a fragment of some narrative, not only the stories of gods, nymphs and emperors, of noble women on noble horses, of Turkish soldiers, beautiful peasant maids, of heroes and of clowns; but more, there are also the stories of the makers themselves and of David Roche and now of Geoff Mitchell. Geoff says that it is a predilection for history that drew him to this place. For him, it is the story of the past that shapes the present and that as he tries to wring new meaning from it what results is a new story.

Following Geoff’s talk, there will be an opportunity to join him in viewing his exhibition in the Drawing Room of Fermoy House.

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