Craig Underhill Scottish, b. 1968
‘I always want my work to evolve and develop; I enjoy the challenge and rewards of exploring the unfamiliar, of making new shapes and searching for new mark making techniques.
‘In this body of work I have been exploring the possibilities of building onto the edges of my forms to create more complex shapes to apply my surface mark making to. In doing this I feel I have blurred the definition between the inside and outside of the vessel forms and created a closer relationship between form and surface. I have combined more familiar mark making techniques with new marks and, in places more graphical images.
‘I want this work to express something about the location in which it is exhibited. St Ives has always been an inspirational place for me. Although I don’t want to make over literal suggestions and references to places I do want to evoke a sense of place through the use of mark making, colour and form.’
‘All my work is slab built using a lightly grogged body. With larger pieces initial marks, textures and colours are added before the piece is assembled. When the clay is soft, textures can be made directly onto the clay surface with my hands and fingers.
‘I aim to create depth on the surface of the pieces and do this by applying layers of engobes, slips and underglaze colours when the clay is leather-hard and then build up more layers as the clay dries. I combine this with different methods of mark making directly into the clay surface using a variety of simple tools, some of these being bits of broken stick, ends of paintbrushes and my own fingers.’
‘The work is fired to 1140°C and more layers of engobe are applied before oxides and glossy glaze is used to highlight detail.
‘I make simple forms that normally have a defined back and front; this allows the surface that is my main fascination to be shown off. I tend to work with a series of similar forms and explore ideas through drawing and painting before committing myself to the ceramic pieces.’
Underhill was born in Scotland in 1968. He studied for a Btec HND in Design (Ceramics) at Harrow College of Higher Education, from 1987 – 89, and then went on to study BA (Hons) Fine Art (Ceramics) at Portsmouth Polytechnic, from 1989 – 90. This was followed by a graduate assistantship at University of Eastern Illinois, USA, in 1990.
In 2004 and 2006, Underhill was awarded Arts Council grants to produce and promote new bodies of work. Since 1997 he has lectured in Ceramics at Dudley College, and has exhibited extensively in the UK, France and The Netherlands. In 2013 he was an invited artist at the Landscape and Ceramics Symposium in Kecskemet, Hungary.
Craig Underhill now lives in West Cornwall where he has established his pottery studio and gallery.
A SPACE TO BREATHEPost-lockdown contemporary paintings and ceramics 3 Jul - 31 Aug 2021St Ives Porthminster Gallery's upcoming exhibition 'A Space to Breathe' opens on Saturday 3rd July, with a breath of fresh air at the launch of artist and "gallery favourite" Nick Bodimeade's new series of post-lockdown paintings. The exhibition will also debut fresh new paintings and ceramics made during those trying times by permanent gallery artists, Joanne Last, Freya Horsley, Barry Stedman and Geoffrey Swindell.
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SEA STORIESMixed exhibition of contemporary paintings, prints, and ceramics 1 May - 26 Jun 2021Porthminster Gallery’s new exhibition Sea Stories opened with a burst of Spring optimism on 1st May.
Featuring uplifting contemporary paintings, prints and ceramics by seven gallery artists, and one invited guest artist, in a celebration of the seaside and rocky coast for which St Ives and West Cornwall is famous
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RELOCATION11 Sep - 24 Oct 2020The opening collection at our new premises at 22 Fore Street is a changing showcase of artworks by some of the many established and emerging British Artists whom we represent,...
LANDSCAPE ABSTRACTED30 Mar - 11 May 2019Porthminster Gallery hosts its second specially curated exhibition of 2019 with this selling show of collectable paintings and ceramics by four well-established artists. The ongoing engagement in each artist's work...
SCULPTURAL CERAMICS14 Jul - 1 Sep 2018This beautifully crafted show of 'museum-quality' artworks celebrates the excellence and innovative skills and techniques of contemporary British ceramicists and sculptors working to create sculptural ‘fine art’ forms, as opposed...
ST IVES SUMMER SHOW : NINE ARTISTSMIXED SHOW 16 Jun - 1 Sep 2018Our eleventh annual summer exhibition is a richly diverse showcase of expressive and sometimes surprising works by nine artists, all of whom are inspired by St Ives and Cornwall: Painters:...
CORNUCOPIA9 Sep - 9 Nov 2017The award-winning Porthminster Gallery celebrates the rich autumnal bounty of original art with its latest curated selling show in St Ives. A ‘cornucopia’ of delights – a visual feast –...
CONTEMPORARY SCULPTURAL CERAMICS SHOW29 Jul - 3 Sep 2017This beautifully crafted show of 'museum-quality' artworks celebrates the excellence and innovative skills and techniques of contemporary British ceramicists and sculptors working to create sculptural ‘fine art’ forms, as opposed...
Tide Lines30 Apr - 25 Jun 2016Featuring stunning new collections of paintings and ceramics inspired by Cornwall's spectacular and atmospheric coastlines by six leading artists: Paintings by Angela Charles, Joanne Last, Kathy Ramsay Carr and Masako...
FINDING GODREVY: CRAIG UNDERHILLSep 5, 2020Craig's exploration and 'discovery' of the unpeopled, dramatic, and beautiful coastal landscapes of Godrevy, found on his new doorstep, inspired him to make the Finding Godrevy collection. Informed initially through...