Halima Cassell is one of the UK’s most distinctive and dynamic ceramicists and sculptors.
Manchester Art Gallery
Sunday 3 February 2019–Sunday 5 January 2020
Inspired by geometry, architecture, natural forms and foreign travel, she creates deeply carved forms in unglazed ceramic, bronze, stone, wood and cast glass.
Cassell was born in Kashmir, grew up in the north west of England and her sculpture reflects her dual international and local heritage. Early ceramic works such as Mancunian Roofscapes, first shown at Manchester Art Gallery in 2005, were influenced both by the architecture of the north west and the repeated geometric patterns of Islamic design. In recent years, Cassell has travelled throughout Britain and in Italy, Japan and Pakistan to explore new materials, techniques and approaches. These experiences have enriched her work and taken it in previously unforeseen directions: the regular repetition of carved geometry and immaculate symmetry giving way to sensuous organic curves and asymmetry. Travel renewed her appetite for experimentation – in Japan she threw pots whilst stood on a step ladder and in Italy she worked in marble for the first time.
Cassell is gifted with an exceptional ability to visualise complex patterns and mentally project them on to 3-D objects. Her work is diverse in inspiration and form, but her personal style is instantly recognisable due to her bold, energetic designs, crisp carving and intuitive understanding of how to integrate pattern, form, material and scale.
This extensive show, her largest to date, in the city where she first dreamt of becoming an artist, is an opportunity to see the full range of her work including the debut of her latest piece, Virtues of Unity, an assemblage of ceramic sculptures which when complete will represent every nation on earth.
Cassell exhibits in the UK and internationally and her work is represented extensively in leading private and public collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. Her public art commissions can be seen in Blackburn, the Forest of Bowland, the Ribble Valley, Leicester, Nottingham and Liverpool.
Photography ©Jonathan Keenan