About the Artist
Grayson Perry uses the seductive qualities of ceramics and other art forms to make stealthy comments about societal injustices and hypocrisies, and to explore a variety of historical and contemporary themes. The beauty of his work is what draws us close. Covered with sgraffito drawings, handwritten and stencilled texts, photographic transfers and rich glazes, Perry’s detailed pots are deeply alluring. Only when we are up close do we start to absorb narratives that might allude to dark subjects such as environmental disaster or child abuse, and even then the narrative flow can be hard to discern.
The disparity between form and content and the relationship between the pots and the images that decorate them is perhaps the most challenging incongruity of Perry’s work. Yet, beyond the initial shock of an apparently benign or conservative medium carrying challenging ideas, what keeps us drawn to the work is its variety.
Perry is a great chronicler of contemporary life, drawing us in with wit, affecting sentiment and nostalgia as well as fear and anger. Autobiographical references – to the artist’s childhood, his family and his transvestite alter ego Claire – can be read in tandem with debates about décor and decorum and the status of the artist versus that of the artisan, debates which Perry turns on their head.