Karen Thompson uses her ceramic practice as a form of social comment – frequently using historical models as reference and mixing in contemporary influences, she subverts familiar forms to represent something other than their intended function and design. Using humour as a consistent strand in her work, she explores the provocative, the absurd and the satirical.
At Lombard Street Gallery, alongside other pieces by the artist, we have a selection of Tureen Heads by Karen Thompson – a series of life size gentlemen busts inspired by the Victorian ceramic phrenology heads and animal tureens. Both elements are combined in a simple play to deliver a fun and modern twist for the contemporary dinner party, imagine the response when the head is lifted to reveal broccoli florets or perhaps peas. Karen has appeared on BBC Radio Kent to discuss the tureens with Erika North who has two of them purchased from our Gallery, the show was about decluttering, clearing and treasures and Erika places these firmly into the treasure category.
Inspired by nineteenth century Staffordshire pottery the Tiger Jars are created using eathenware clay and finished with transparent lead glaze with hand-painted on-glaze enamels. Traditional Staffordshire practice is used in a modern interpretation.
Karen graduated from Bath Spa University with BA (Hons) ceramics in 2008 and continues to develop her practice in Scarborough, contributing to many exhibitions throughout the UK and having work in the handling collection at the Crafts Council.