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Ian Thompson

MA work


The current work explores some of my perceptions regarding the paradox between vulnerability and strength in human experience. Fundamentally, this means the idea that humans, (and life generally) exists by a such a thin thread, balanced tenuously, vulnerable to emotional and physical nature. Insulin, for example, a hormone that plays such a vital part in our body yet produced by such a delicate part of our system strikes me as an extraordinary thing, that so much of our opportunities depend upon such thin threads of existence.

 Despite this, what intrigues me is that we act with enormous courage, moving towards an ever increasing desire to experience more and go more deeply into life, venturing to the moon, developing new technologies, new experience and understanding.

 These works use a variety of mythologies, stories and characters from Ovid to Michel Foucault to explore these ideas working with a variety of conventions derived from close study of artists from the Archaic period of Greece to 16th and 17th century European painting traditions.

All the work is thrown on the wheel and painted in a variety of ways using slips and underglazes.


  • MA Degree


    School of Arts & Humanities


    MA Ceramics & Glass, 2018

  • My work is based upon my response to a range of traditions and conventions within visual culture. I work in close reference to a variety of practices, techniques and ideas used by artists from antiquity up until the present day. Much of the iconography I work with is combined with careful attention to a broad range of social, political, cultural or economic contexts. To enable this process I work with techniques learnt from social semiotics to allow ways of engaging the viewer in specific ways; for example, the juxtaposition of spatial relationships within an image. I often use a range of contradictory signs to create ambiguity depending upon the effects I am trying to draw the viewer to engage with. The intention is to allow a space to exist in which the viewer can enter from a variety of contextual frames and be allowed to develop a journey into an intimate range of associations of ideas and experience. This is contrary to the work being presented from a single point of view, dictating ideas upon the viewer/spectator. Rather the intention is for the viewer to enter into a slow process of engagement with the variety of qualities present in the works. 

  • Degrees

  • BA Fine Art, Canterbury, 1992
  • Experience

  • 1993–2006 working part time as a visiting lecturer in Further and Higher Education.
  • Exhibitions

  • WIP Show, RCA, London, 2018; Work in Progress show, Christies, London, 2017; Autour du Royaume de Majorque, Arach Association, Port-Vendres, 2016; Commissions including La Cene and 1st series of Alice ceramic group, 2013; Ceramics, Elne Mairie, 2013; La Cene, private commission, 2013; New Work, Chez Jacques Duvillaret, 2012; Large oils Dreams of Daedalus'/ Narrenschiff, Private commissions, 2012; Dreams of Daedalus, private painting commissions, Belgium and Swedish collectors, 2012; Royal Insititute of Watercolour Annual Competition, Bankside Galley, 2012; Adamus, Galleria Clic, Bookshop Gallery, London, 2012; New Work, Sant jordi, Elne, 2011; New Work, Chez Jacques Duvillaret, Collioure, 2011; Flamenco, a Celebration of Flamenco culture, 2011; Le Jardin des Metiers d'Arts, Elne, 2010; Gallery Summer show, Atelier Machintosh, 2010; Commission of 24 plates, Les Freres de Morphee series, 2010; Ubu gallery, Perpignan, 2010; Jardiin des metier des arts, Elne, 2009; Architects gallery, Nantes, 2009; Morpheus series, Rue de la Sante, Paris, 2009
  • Awards

  • Grocers Awards 2017