When visiting the Marsden Woo Gallery last month I discovered the ceramicist Dawn Youll. The first piece of her art I laid eyes upon was a garden green ceramic wheelie bin with a bright red cylinder for the wheels and what seems like a red plank of wood propped against it.… My initial interpretation of Dawn’s collection was that, although brightly coloured, it seemed cold. Then I looked into the nature of the pieces. They remind me of children’s toy building blocks assembled together.
In fact, the items don’t even look like they are ceramic, but plastic, or a highly lacquered wood. Not that this is a bad thing; for one to shape clay into an object in a way that makes it look like it was made from another material is admirable.
Named ‘Locale’, Dawn’s collection is inspired by her environment. She displays objects the audience will have an immediate familiarity to. So something like a wheelie bin- an object which is stamped in urban culture will engage the viewer.
I didn’t instantaneously understand her collection but since I’ve come away from it, I’ve realised I have a connection to her work, particularly the wheelie bins as those are the sculptures that are most poignant in my memory.