The title of Phil Brooks’ new exhibition, Containers and Connectors, suggests that a sense of functionality lies at the core of these works. What the artist is exploring however, is not practical notions of vessels as holders for fruit or flowers. Brooks looks at how these vessels operate as discrete containers of space and how this can be subverted by playing with surface and form.
When considering a bowl, cup or vase, it is impossible to avoid consideration of what it does, or doesn’t, hold. Intrinsic to these forms is the containment of space and the commensurate potential for filling this space. The works in the Buffer and Container series turn this axiom inside out however. The inner surfaces of the vessels curve up into themselves, disrupting their expected physical and spatial dimensions. Similar to the way a Klein bottle’s interior is simultaneously its exterior, the interior of these works has erupted into its own space to become at once container and contained.
Brooks sees this full suite of works proceeding from an inward to an outward focus. The Accord and Pact, pieces reach out to connect with one another, breaching their exterior walls and extending space rather than filling it. The meeting points between burnished glazes and textured clay are identifiable boundary markers between in and out until Brook disrupts these as well. Patterns snake across edges and in Embrace the distinction between exterior and interior surface decoration dissolves altogether.