phil duncan ba pgce ceramic artist

t.       01273 477484
m.     07748 792685
  caricatures_button numbers_button deco_button garden_button nautical_button  
all images copyright phil duncan mmx.


Phil Duncan’s ceramic pieces are broadly divided into 5 bodies of work:

The Menagerie of Caricatures and Creatures,

Numbers & Music,

Art Deco & Cubism,

Garden Pieces,

and Nautical, Landscape & Architecture.

His individually made pieces are termed as ‘pots’ and not simply as hollow sculptures. They are not functional containers, in the traditional sense, but instead depositories of the artist’s thoughts, observations, experiences and ideas about how we interact with the world.He now uses three types of clay, grogged terracotta, buff and white magma and uses an usual mid temperature glaze fired to 1150 C. This firing not only makes use of the Botz glaze special effects but also gives the clay body a most attractive warm ‘toasted’ colouration.
The work is constructed by using two mirrored slabs of clay which are allowed to dry carefully to the right state of dryness so that they hold their curved shape but yet are malleable enough join and make final adjustments.
The duel aspect resulting from this construction technique allows him to decorate the two resulting surfaces in alternative ways. This, he likens, to an A and B side of a vinyl record or the first and second takes of a Jazz improvisation. This is also a way of representing twin personalities, a common trait in many people regardless as to whether they are or are not born a Gemini as he is.

Phil also produces work to commission and is always happy to discuss how he can adapt his work to a personalised specification.

The Menagerie of Caricatures and Creatures
Amongst this group of work there are, devils, dancers, herons, chickens, cubist style caricatures and game pieces.  They are derived from aesthetic themes taken from African art, traditional and contemporary studio pottery as well as early twentieth century abstract fine art. As a result he has developed a visual language of his own to articulate a sense of wit, humour and melancholy, underlying features of his work.  
Many of the characters are representative of human traits: a sense of liberation, freedom, mischievousness and duality.


Numbers & Music

Phil’s work has long been preoccupied with ideas derived from number sequences and how mathematics and visual art relates to western music. Many of the decorative arrangements are based on the Fibonacci sequence: a sequence of numbers created by adding the two previous together to arrive at the next number in the sequence i.e. 1, 1+1, 1+2, 2+3, 3+5, 5+8 etc (1,2,3,5,8,13 etc). This is the sequence of numbers much loved by the artists of the Renaissance period and relates to the Golden Section and was identified as a sequence of numbers that occurs in nature.
Always interested in the quirky, when Phil came across ‘number stations’, he was inexorably drawn to their mysteriousness and curiosity. Number stations are short wave radio stations transmitting strange blips and noises or spoken sequences of numbers in a host of languages. Many observers have guessed they originate from governments who are contacting agents involved in espionage in the field. Indeed, after the ‘cold war’ many of the German and Russian spoken stations ceased to broadcast. But no-one actually knows.


Art Deco & Cubism

Although these two eminent art styles play a major role in all of his work there are some pieces which do fit in the other categories. They are pieces which respond directly to particular pieces of artwork from the past such as Picasso’s “Guernica” or emulate motifs established by others. The glazed areas are playfully added to a stock series of eccentric shaped ‘pots’.  


Garden Pieces

This is the most recent set of work. The techniques and aesthetic style of his ‘pots’ have been applied to garden finials. When mounted onto rods they sway gently in the wind. They exude humour and wit and can enliven any garden of any size. 


Nautical, Landscape & Architecture

This group of work came about in response to a request by a gallery he dealt with and have now become the main stay of his work. In this group of work he uses shapes, forms and detailing taken from a host of antiquated buildings found in the south east of England: windmills, wharf buildings, bathing machines, beach huts and lighthouses. The ships and boats are based on the shapes and forms of the fishing boats found at Hastings, Woodbridge and Whistable.