There is a delicate balance at work in the vessels of Gabriele Koch, with the making process and surface finish on the one side and the importance of form, volume and personal expression on the other. The handbuilt, burnished and smoke-fired surfaces set up associations with traditional skills and connections to the earth and the historical, but for Koch these elements bring universality, making connections across time and place. Her pots are unashamedly twenty-first century creations, made by an articulate and engaging potter for whom form, space, architecture and sculpture are inspirational forces.
Early in her career Koch was asked if she had ‘found her shape’. Having conceived her signature pieces – the ‘sphere’ vessels – she has continued to explore ideas and has added new forms to her repertoire. Koch says her work does not evolve along a lateral path but springs from, and returns to, the spheres with their small bases from which the walls lift upwards and stretch outwards to their impressive girths, before contracting again towards their finely considered rims. The common element is a felling of poise and calm. Towers, spheres and bowls all bring to mind a perfectly aligned creature, drawing itself upwards, able to remain quite still without becoming tense; an indication of the clear intention behind the work. Recent explorations have led to a greater articulation of planes, working with light and shadow and even cutting into the surface. The complete containment of space is bringing entirely new vessels, and as Koch returns to her ‘spheres’ the influence of new discoveries can be seen in discerning alterations to the rims.
Discussing the evolution of her forms, Koch appears as a potter at ease with her work, instinctively moving her pieces forward with subtlety and intelligence.
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