Poncelet, Jacqui

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Jacqui (Jacqueline) Poncelet is born in Liège (Belgium) in 1947. She trained at Wolverhampton College of Art (1964-1969) where she studied ceramics, and subsequently at the Royal College of Art where she worked with industrial ceramic processes (1969-1972). Whilst teaching in art colleges she established herself as a maker of fine bone china creating delicate cup and bowl forms with painted, transferred and carved decoration using industrial techniques. The work was slipcast in moulds but each was transformed into an individual piece by carving and shaving the surface. A major source of inspiration for this work came from Roman glass. After 1977 she began to make hard-edged, angular stoneware forms with complex elaborate painted decoration. A need for further change and new stimuli, led to a British Council Arts Fellowship to travel in the USA (1978). The textural qualities of American landscape and architecture and colour and line in American painting encouraged her to produce slab-built earthenware. The main subjects were boat and shoe-like forms with all over pattern and an emphasis on the edges of the forms. Experimentation with earthenware and stoneware clays and surface quality and colour became a major preoccupation of this period of her work.

In the mid 1980s she worked at Bing and Grondahl in Denmark selling work in Copenhagen and New York. Gradually the forms became more sculptural and abstract, exploring ideas of containment and enclosure whilst also making reference to the human body and zoomorphic forms. A major exhibition of her work was organised by the Crafts Council (1981) and an exhibition of sculpture was held at the Whitechapel Gallery (1985). Together with Glenys Barton, Alison Briton and Carol McNicoll, Jacqui Poncelet was considered one of the most innovative and avant-garde ceramicists to come out of the Royal College of Art in the 1970s. She is known for her early work in bone china in the 1970s and for her more sculptural work in ceramics after 1980. She is married to the sculptor, Richard Deacon. She now (since c. 1985) sees herself as working in the field of fine art rather than ceramics or craft. Her work is represented in the Victoria Albert Museum and many other public collections (text: Aberystwyth University).

In 2007 Jacqueline Poncelet took up residency at A.J Wells to produce a series of enamelled panels for Sunshine House in Camberwell - a child development centre in Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital. Enamel was specified due to its durability, vibrance and hygienic properties. Jacqueline has since returned to A.J Wells to produce enamelled panels for Flitch Green Primary School for Essex County Council and more recently to take on a vast enamel cladding project in London. Jacqueline established herself as a major figure on the international ceramics scene in the 1970s and 80s. In the 90s she diversified her practice to include painting, sculpture and public art commissions (text A.J. Wells).

Afbeeldingen: Portrait (source Genius.Loci); Jacqui in her studio, c. 1978 (photo Galerie Kapelhuis, Amersfoort (NL)); portrait in colour (source dacsfoundation.org.uk); object untitled 1981 (source: live auctioneers 2013); object untitled (source: Capriolus); architectural ceramic wall tiles, around 2007 (source A.J. Wells).

Work of the artist: 

"As an artist I have become increasingly difficult to categorise. I established myself as a major figure on the international ceramics scene in the 1970s and 80s. Then in the 90s I diversified my practice to include painting, sculpture and public art commissions, ending the decade as one of the three curators of the British Art Show. "My personal passion is for pattern and colour. I do not have a minimalist aesthetic. I believe that complexity can enrich our lives but should not overwhelm us. Each element within a composition should add to the overall experience. "In recent years collaboration has become an important part of my work, whether I’m exhibiting as an artist, curating, or working with architects. I believe that we can maximise both our individual potential and that of the project through teamwork. My background in ceramics has left me with a strong interest in function, and my approach to public projects satisfies this side of my creativity. The function could be aesthetic or practical, but one of the great pleasures of working as a team is the feeling that a brief has been understood and answered creatively." Jacqui Poncelet 2007 (text from her website).

Visit www.poncelet.me.uk