cambridge contemporary art


Shazia Mahmood and Anthony Theakston exhibition at cambridge contemporary art 

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Shazia Mahmood and Anthony Theakston

exhibition at cambridge contemporary art 

30th March - 22nd April 2018

Shazia Mahmood returns to cambridge contemporary art for her sixth exhibition at the gallery. A recent trip to Holkham, staying in a nearby beach hut has inspired this new body of work and a new palette. The never ending skies and seas of Norfolk hold a special place in her heart.

On Friday 20th April from 6pm to 7.30pm, painter Shazia Mahmood will be in the gallery to chat about her practice. This is a great opportunity to meet the artist in an informal environment and enjoy a glass of bubbly after a long week. This is a freedrop-in event. We kindly ask to register here to monitor the number of visitors during the event. 

Anthony Theakston creates a range of ceramics inspired primarily by bird form and movement. He begins his work by drawing quick sketches from nature to capture a striking form which he then refines these drawings into a design on paper, trying not to lose the initial expressive action which rough sketches can capture.

We are delighted to have such a selection of Anthony’s work. We are the only gallery to show his ceramics during 2017 and 2018.

Meet the Artist - Marina Bauguil

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Marina at work in her studio


If you have been to our gallery in the past month, you will have noticed the characterful porcelain creatures that are currently populating our front cabinet. These 'Kami', as they are called, are designed to evoke 'the sacred element or spirit which can be contained in everything, expressed in an awe inspiring way.' They are lovingly and delicately created by Marina Bauguil. Marina has answered some questions for us so we can learn more about her wonderful work.


How do you go about making a new piece?

Red Fox Spirit

I usually go back to my sketchbook to pick up on my last train of thought. Next, I sit in my work space for a while and become present using a meditative approach, then setting an intention for that working day - this can be as simple as "have fun today" - all the while letting my ideas simmer. After that I get the clay out, put music on and start rolling out small coils, which I hollow out and model. Each piece then appears intuitively, a bit like an information download: I let myself be guided by what the piece is telling me.


How did you get started with your art career?

I studied sculpture at Falmouth School of Art and Design for three years and spent a further two studying ceramics in Nottingham. I then worked with a sculptor friend of mine firstly on a community project, then making large sculptures for the artist David Mack. I also worked with a landscape architect making large pieces for gardens and went on to do private commissions for a while, whilst working on my own ceramic pieces in my parents' cellar.

Owl Spirit

What is your preferred medium/colour pallet to use?

Clay is undeniably my preferred medium and over the last two years more specifically paper porcelain. My colour palette changes but I have noticed over the years that I like using turquoise, teal blues and greens.

What inspired the range of work that we have in the gallery?

A long fascination with tribal/ethnographical figurative art traditions such as the Dogū figures of ancient Japan or the Divination figures of Angola. I love the idea that clay holds power, for example, it can be used as a building material for construction or become a recipient for food and water but also a vehicle for the intangible such as emotions,essence or magic. The work in the gallery is partly inspired by this idea, I see my little pieces as contemporary shamanistic objects which hold a power of their own.

Which other artists do you admire?

That's a difficult question as there are so many. I recently discovered the work of Ramesh Nithiyendran which I love, I also admire the work of Claire Curneen, Kristen Brunjes and Grayson Perry.

Wind Spirit


Could you describe a typical working day?

A typical working day starts how I described it in the first question. I usually start around 10am and work until 3.30pm when my children come back from school. I often go back to the studio ( which incidentally is my utility room) for a few hours in the evening.

How do you see your work evolving in the future?

My work is a journey, so in a way I discover it as I go along. However, working on such small pieces is a very intense and concentrated process. I used to make very large pieces when I worked in bronze, so I would definitely like to work on larger pieces in the near future.


Meet the artist - Ikuko Iwamoto

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Like Ruth MolloyGael Sellwood and Mani Parkes, Ikuko Iwamoto's work is another very recent addition to our gallery. 

Ikuko Iwamoto

Ikuko started making ceramics in 1990 at Tezukayama College in Japan. She then moved to London to do an undergraduate degree in ceramics at the Camberwell College of Arts and she subsequently completed an MA in ceramics and glass at the Royal College of Art. At the RCA she started to make functional pieces using a slip casting technique using plaster moulds. Ikuko is now a successful artist working from her studio in London and she has exhibited extensively both in the UK and Japan.

All of Ikuko's work is entirely handmade. The main body of a piece is usually created using a slip-casting technique. Ikuko makes all the casting moulds herself by hand. Every part of the decoration, including every single spike, is then individually crafted and attached by hand. All of the pieces are made from porcelain.

Nucleolus Pofupfou Teapot and Spiky Milk Jug

Ikuko's work is informed by her own curiosity about invisible things such as sounds, music and the microscopic world - cells, genes and organic forms. The meticuolous level of detail with which she works is spot on for a subject matter that includes the tiniest of sea creatures and the minutest of micro-organisms.

Ikuko has already achieved critical acclaim and in March 2009, she was awarded the Ceramic Review Prize for Innovation at the RCA's Ceramic Art London exhibition. 


Nucleolus Pofu Teapots

How did you get started with your art career?

I went art and craft history BA course in Japan and I started making throwing pots when I was 18 years old.


What is your preferred medium to use?

Clay.  I tried to use metal when I was a student at Camberwell, but very frustrated…

Nucleolus Pofu Teapot Closeup

How do you go about making a new cup or vessel?

I draw the shape on the paper first and then make a model with plaster.  Carving plaster by hand, and then I make mould from the model.


What inspired the range of work that we have in the gallery?

Microscopic patterns


Which other artists do you admire?

Outsider artist especially Henry Darger


Could you describe a typical working day?

I drop off my kids to school and nursery in the morning and then go to studio by bike. I work at my studio in Clerkenwell between 9:45am and 2:45pm and then picking up my son from school.


How do you see your work evolving in the future?

I make framed sculpture too (, so I would like to make a lot of art works as well as tableware.

Ikuko's work on display at cambridge contemporary art

Our Mixed Spring Exhibition

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Spring is in the Air and we're celebrating Mother's Day (Sunday 6th March)

Mums love beautiful unique handmade things and we've got a gallery full of perfect gifts for them!

Our Mixed Spring Show at cambridge contemporary art, which runs till 28th March, has plenty to offer. We are pleased to be showing new artists Victoria DawesLaura LaneIkuko Iwamoto and Jill Shaddock. Their ceramics are both functional and beautiful to look at. If you really want to spoil your mum, we also have some lovely floral screenprints by Angie Lewin in stock, including the new 'Honesty Blue'. Or be truly original and get your mum this brand new red dress by Joseph Silcott, which is entirely composed of hand-cut butterflies and is sure to put a smile on her face. Come in and browse our gallery for more gift ideas.