Born in 1960 in Cape Town, South African ceramicist Katherine Glenday discovered her vocation under the mentorship of leading ceramicist Marietjie van der Merwe. Since, the artist has never ceased to pursue an unwavering path exploring the material’s wide range of expressive qualities, while continuing to learn different time-honored techniques through ongoing collaboration with master ceramicists around the world.
Highly informed by the visual arts painting and drawing, her porcelain works explore the contrasts of emphasized organic textures on soft skin-like surfaces. Each of her pieces defies the materiality of the porcelain, stretching the matter to its thinnest; their translucent skin enthralls the natural light, while their silhouettes embody the artist’s gesture as it quietly evokes movement. All while refining her technical dexterity and her artistic signature, Glenday has grown a cohesive body of work comprised of delicate vessels that accentuate the porcelain’s lightness and translucent quality.
Employing a variety of forming methods, most notably wheel throwing and occasionally slip casting, she sees the vessel as a circular canvas in movement. Inviting color and light in the pure matter, she introduces minerals and oxides often gleaned directly from the natural world, such as mud from the Niger River or clay from the Cedarburg, as her “paint.”
Although the formation of her work is often visceral and full of movement, the resulting pieces emanate a meditative quality.
Like autobiographical elements, many of Glenday’s works mainly result from the artist’s intuition with the subtle guidance of her skilled hands. More gestural and intentional, her most recent series have focused on exploring positive and negative space in porcelain, subtly echoing Franz Kline in his use of abstracted black “brush” strokes to create an interplay between light and dark.