Spotlight

Spotlight artist Alma Berrow

Championed by Lucinda Bellm
The Wick - Spotlight artist Alma Berrow
Above  
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The Wick - Spotlight artist Alma Berrow
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Interview
Alma Berrow
01 May 2024
Interview
Alma Berrow
01 May 2024
Stubbed out cigarettes, a single fried egg sitting perfectly on a white plate, used teabags or a pile of mouldy lemons – nothing is too banal to be immortalised in Alma Berrow’s cheeky and affirming ceramic sculptures, still life studies that freeze time, that point to the perennial and are punctilious in details.

Until the pandemic, Berrow was a pastry chef – she is one of lockdown’s many pivot success stories, taking up ceramics as a hobby to pass time that quickly turned into a profession. With a background in art and fashion and a potter mother, Berrow was perhaps destined for the wheel – her witticisms in clay have something of Sarah Lucas and a touch of Lucy Sparrow. For her last solo show, in October 2023, titled Echo Berrow built an entire reconstruction of a bathroom at LAMB gallery, complete with shelves for holding ceramic toothbrushes and cotton buds, a ceramic rendition of a crossword book, sink, bath and of course, a bog.

Describing Berrow as a “rising figure in the art world”, Berrow’s champion for The Wick, Lucinda Bellm, founder and director of LAMB, said: “Alma Berrow’s work is a profound exploration of contemporary taboos and societal nuances. She breathes life into everyday objects through her ceramics, from backgammon boards to Holy Bibles and ceramic knickers. Her innate ability to infuse humor and otherworldly beauty into seemingly ordinary objects bring forth seamlessly woven ideas and emotion that capture the viewer’s imagination. Berrow’s work is a critique of excess, hedonism and consumerist culture: playful, yet subversive; coquettishly trivial yet poignant and nostalgic- setting her apart as a visionary in the still life genre.”

Berrow says her works are informed by her everyday interactions with people, musing that, “I find my creations to be almost anthropological.” The joy in turning minutiae into intricate sculptures of various sizes comes from “capturing those fleeting moments and immortalizing them, crafting narratives that reflect the essence of those moments—whether they are drawn from lived experiences or the realm of imagination.”

At Echo – her debut solo exhibition – “my endeavor to construct not just individual scenes and narratives, but an entire physical imagined world.” Unlike her previous works where Berrow had focused on elements, this show invited viewers to “to step inside my creative realm”, spinning all the pieces into a larger story – a portrait of the artist, or at least of someone – the sculptures reading like clues to their existence, from medicines in the bathroom cabinet to the backgammon and magazines, strewn with her trademark cigarette butts on the checkered floor.

Berrow is back in the UK after two back to back residencies in Brazil and Mexico. She’s busy preparing for the summer ahead – group shows at Guts gallery, London, as well as in Greece and Austria, are all in the pipeline at present. We can’t wait to see what she creates yet – and whatever it is, there are sure to be cigarettes in there, somewhere.

““Berrow’s work is a critique of excess, hedonism and consumerist culture”

Place of Birth

London, UK

Education

Falmouth Art and Design Foundation and First year of the Fashion BA then ran away

Awards, Accolades

Best mime at Bath festival, age 10

Current exhibitions

Recently returned from residencies at Inclusartiz in Rio, Brazil and Adhasivo in CDMX, Mexico

Spiritual guides, Mentors

Rene Maria Rilke, Erike Frome, Alan Watts, Irvine Yalom, Paulo Coelho

Advice

Remember to play


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