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Stephen Dixon

On Thursday 1st May  we welcome you to the Private View evening and talk by celebrated ceramicist Stephen Dixon and his solo exhibition 'Fragments and Narratives'. Talks run from 5.45 - 6.30pm at the Cantor Building at Sheffield Hallam University, then pop across the road to see Stephen's work at the MADE NORTH Gallery from 6.45 - 8.30pm.

This is a solo exhibition of the work of internationally acclaimed ceramicist Stephen Dixon and we are delighted that Stephen has agreed to give a talk about his work which will cover political narratives and printed imagery within his ceramic practice, with a particular focus on the works produced since the residency at the V&A ceramics studio. Work on display at MADE NORTH Gallery originated from Dixon's V&A residency including his ceramic head series, the exhibition also features inter-related strands of portraiture, archives and fragments.

Dixon says, "In 2009 I undertook a residency in the newly re-furbished Ceramics Galleries at the Victoria & Albert Museum. This was an extraordinary and exciting time to be a museum ‘insider’, taking part in the opening events and celebrations and watching the new galleries and displays slowly taking shape. At that time, the ceramics studio residency was the latest manifestation of the V&A’s on-going experiment into the creative interaction between artist and museum, and part of a wider multi-disciplinary programme of artists’ residencies. It came with an open brief: to make new work in response to the museum’s collections, and to find ways to engage the public in this process. Unlike similar residencies, there was no expectation to produce a finished body of work by the end of the six-month tenure. To a maker, behind the scenes access to such an extraordinary and extensive collection is an enormous gift, but also a massive challenge. Broadly speaking, everything I have made since 2010 owes its genesis to the six months I spent in the V&A ceramics studio. Looking back across all of this work, three clear research strands can be seen to have emerged, the portrait, the archive and the fragment."

Stephen Dixon studied Fine Art at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and Ceramics at the Royal College of Art, graduating in 1986. Early exhibitions in London with Contemporary Applied Arts and the Crafts Council established a reputation for ceramics with a biting political and social satire. Anatol Orient introduced Dixon’s figurative vessels to the U.S.A. in the early nineties, resulting in solo exhibitions at Pro-Art, St. Louis (1993) Garth Clark Gallery, New York (1995) and Nancy Margolis Gallery, New York (1998). His work features in numerous public and private collections, including the Museum of Arts & Design, New York, the British Council, the Crafts Council, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal Museum of Scotland, and the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. Dixon combines his studio ceramic practice with regular forays into public and community arts.

In 2000 he received an Arts Council Year of the Artist award for ‘Asylum’, a collaborative project with Amnesty International U.K. and Kosovan refugees. In 2006 he travelled to Australia to investigate the effects of dislocation on the creation of cultural artefacts, for 'Beyond the Seas', an AHRC funded practice-led research project. In 2007 he curated the exhibition '200 Years: Slavery Now', exploring issues of contemporary slavery in the year of the Bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade.

Stephen Dixon is currently employed as Professorial Research Fellow in Contemporary Crafts at Manchester School of Art, investigating the contemporary printed image in ceramics. Specific research interests include the British satirical tradition (in both printmaking and ceramics), commemorative wares and ‘pop’ culture, and the development of socio-political narratives in contemporary ceramics.