At first glance of Leah Jensen’s work, you can not help but delight in the sheer beauty of each form, your appreciation heightened by the illustrious exactitude of the artist’s craftsmanship. When you then discover that the origin of the carvings on each of Leah’s ceramic vessels comes from her love of Renaissance paintings you realise that the work goes beyond elaborate technique. It is rich and laden with meaning and despite being clean-cut and contemporary in its form, its tendrils stretch back in time, thousands of years into the past. Leah’s latest stoneware vessel derives from an early Renaissance painting by Giotto di Bondone which features St Francis of Assisi feeding the birds. As with all of her sculptural vessels, Leah allows the fundamental elements of the painting to dictate the final design of the pot. This is a technique that the artist developed after learning about the maths and planning some of the great masters used when considering their composition. In doing so, she unearths hidden geometric structures that reside beneath the surface of the painting. Leah maps out these patterns and forms and translates these by applying images of the painting using pins and paper on to a hand-built, unfired clay vessel, using the clay as a canvas. She then carves out these precise yet abstract patterns, creating a unique, meticulously planned contemporary object very much influenced by the past. Once the vessel is complete the narrative is hidden, just as in the geometric structure of the painting before it.
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