Hales is delighted to announce "Sunlit Uplands," the gallery's fourth solo exhibition with Richard Slee. In an epic installation of a new series, Slee has created a meticulously crafted ceramic archipelago.
Slee (b. 1946 Cumbria, UK) is one of Britain's most influential and celebrated artists working with clay. In an oeuvre spanning five decades, Slee's work challenges conventional notions in ceramic art with technical precision and outstanding craftsmanship. In explorations of the domestic, play and culture, he draws upon an extensive knowledge of ceramic history and traditions.
In this large-scale project, Slee intricately explores the phrase “sunlit uplands” as a concept for an imagined landscape. The quote has been used as political ideology, as an assurance for better days to come. The artist interprets the "sunlit uplands" as a chain of ceramic islands — the fragments of utopian sunlit uplands are here with clear skies and everlasting arcadian suns. Slee manipulates heraldic imagery of lions and unicorns as reoccurring characters traversing cake-like worlds. High gloss glaze, bright colours and rocaille entice the viewer. Compact fields sprinkled with trees and wheat sheafs conjure Blakean imagery of pleasant lands, but not all is as it seems — this terrain is patterned with false perspectives.