Katherine Glenday lives and works in her Kalk Bay studio (Cape Town) and exhibits all around the world. The material, imaginary, and interpersonal resonances of porcelain have remained central to Glenday’s practice since the early 1980s. Formally and conceptually emphasising the porousness of borders and skins, the artist’s vessels defy categorisation. They extend into the most translucent edges of what we think porcelain should be able to do and are continuously coming into being in the blur between “the sacred” and the kitchen sink – both impossibly perfect and always just about to shatter. The artist has alternatively described her use of porcelain as “painting with light” – the lightwaves, the sea in Kalk Bay, and the waves of sound and silence too. Although defined by multiple voices and material resonances across four decades, Glenday’s practice might still be described as strongly autobiographical. In moths, light and resonance, we encounter a porous narrating of the Self in relationship. A sense of the plurality at the border becomes most apparent in Glenday’s dual companion series of black and white-winged porcelain vessels. Described as sentries – the black moth sentries and white-winged ones – they are sometimes like angels, sometimes like creatures emerging from the mist. Patrolling the border as it evaporates, the artist presses out the skin of “the divine feminine” and insists on its re-articulation as unearthly.
Born in Cape Town (1960), Katherine Glenday’s works are inherently sonic, they are the vessels against which the world breaks. From 2006 to 2021, Glenday participated in an annual residency with Rose Shakinovsky and Claire Gavronsky (between the Western Cape in South Africa and Poppiano in Italy). Her solo exhibitions have been housed in Cape Town, Johannesburg, New York, and London.
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Porcelain as painting with light
“There is something very important about finding your voice, finding your legitimate space in the world where you are as important as a tree or the cloud. You are definitely not more important than that – which also takes a while to know.”- Katherine Glenday
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