Christie Brown is an artist and Emeritus Professor of Ceramics. She recently ran the Ceramics Research Centre (CRC-UK) and supervised research students within the Centre for Research in Education, Art and Media (CREAM) at the Harrow site. She graduated from Manchester University with a BA in General Arts and from Harrow School of Art with a Higher Diploma in Studio Ceramics, and she has worked as a ceramic artist from her north London studio since 1982. She joined the University staff in 1993 and taught for nearly twenty years on the BA Honours Ceramics course and for many years on the MA Art and Media Practice. She was awarded the title of Professor in 2001 for her international contribution to the discipline. She retired from the University in 2016 and was granted the title of Emeritus Professor of Ceramics for her contribution to the discipline.
Professor Brown has exhibited her ceramic sculpture widely in the UK and abroad and her work is in several private and public collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum UK and the Mint Museum USA. Her most recent solo exhibitions are "Rara Avis" at Arthouse1, London (2016) and "DreamWork" (2012-3) at the Freud Museum in London, an outcome of the 3-year AHRC-funded project "Ceramics in the Expanded Field". Other recent solo exhibitions include; Hybrid Toys (2010) at the Ideas Store Whitechapel, London and Collective Traces; A Response to the Petrie Museum (2006) also funded by the AHRC, at the Institute of Archaeology, London. Selected recent group shows include Exposed, at Ferrin Contemporary, USA (2016), Award at the British Ceramics Biennial, Stoke on Trent (2013), Sculptural Ceramics at Pangolin London (2013), Marking The Line: Ceramics and Architecture (2013) at the Sir John Soane's Museum, London, Women Make Sculpture (2011) at Pangolin London and Crucible (2010) at Gloucester Cathedral. She was artist in residence at Hunter College, New York during summer 2006 and also at the International Ceramics Research Centre in Denmark in 2009.
Christie Brown's mostly figurative ceramic sculpture has embraced both historical connections and contemporary installation through an interest in our relationship with objects, especially those of an archaic nature which are to be found in museum collections. Archaeology presents a fragmented narrative of past lives and holds parallels with the practice of psychoanalysis where layers are carefully stripped away to reveal hidden information. Her work references these archaic traces as well as the mythology, narrative and symbolism associated with clay and its relationship with other materials such as wax, bronze and plaster. She often presents her work through site or theme-specificity and her making method of press-moulding allows her to explore the nature of repetition though installation and series. Recent work revolves around the response of contemporary art practice to archaic collections including those of Sigmund Freud and Sir John Soane. On-going research is developing around the relationship of ceramics to other materials,the use of collage in both 2 and 3 dimensional work and the human animal hybrid as a metaphor for otherness.
The broadening agendas and interdisciplinary dialogues within contemporary ceramics are the main focus of the Ceramics Research Centre (CRC-UK) at Westminster, which was administrated by Professor Brown until her retirement in 2016. Re-examining the discipline through history, whilst engaging in new approaches to presentation through installation and intervention, continue to be keys areas of research for the CRC-UK, which is now led by research Reader Clare Twomey. Ms Twomey continues to build on research around the development of this expanded field of ceramics, including audience engagement and debates around the ephemeral.
From 2011 to 2014 Professor Brown was Principal Investigator on a 3-year project funded by the The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) entitled Ceramics in the Expanded Field - Behind the Scenes at the Museum which explored the relationship between contemporary ceramic art and museum collections. The project inculded a regularly updated website (www.ceramics-in-the-expanded-field.com), featuring a range of commissioned essays by international writers, artists and curators, 4 key intervention exhibitions and a range of symposia and conferences. An anthology of essays based on this project, entitled Contemporary Clay and Museum Culture, edited by Brown, Twomey and Stair was published by Routledge in summer 2016.
The theoretical PhD scholarship student attached to the above research project graduated in 2016. There are also 3 PhD research students in the CRC-UK who are exploring a range of issues such as the the roles of historic objects in contemporary social and cultural issues and the phenomenological nature of our relationhship with objects. The CRC-UK continues to welcome applications from prospective research students with projects that reflect this broad approach to what is seen as a stimulating and challenging development in the discipline. Any enquiries should be directed to Reader Clare Twomey.