Standard Bottle

Guy Holder

Archive Exhibitions (3 May to 1 June 1997)
An atmospheric collection of human-sized pots and urns by Guy Holder. Standard Bottle consisted of a collection of large scale urns, bottles, incinerators and jars. It was a body of work produced by Guy Holder under South East Arts’ Major Financial Award Scheme.

Standard Bottle picked up and developed recurring themes and forms within Guy’s work, notable from the exhibition ‘Big Rest’, 1989 and from his commission for Taunton and Somerset Hospital, 1994.
The themes that informed and inspired individual objects;

– An exploration of the idea of craft object as fictional artefact. Pots as husks, traces of human life and activity. Some pots might have been incinerators or show evidence of a chemical reaction or canisters once part of a greater technology/ritual now abandoned.

– The synthesise of hybrid forms suggested by the historical use of pots within architecture and industry.

– The use of decoration that has significance beyond its design and relationship to the pt form. For example the use of materials that are not normally used for craft production drawing on associations with other cultural forms and activities.

– Pots as metaphors for people and their relationship to the world around them, through the prehistorical link to our development and through the sensuous and dramatic presence of large scale anthropomorphic objects.

Although concerned with expressing ideas and issues, Guy Holder sees his practice as one firmly rooted in craft tradition. His ‘pots’ are first and foremost discrete, decorative objects.
Within the layout of the exhibition these concerns came to the fore. His themes have suggested arrangements, groups and couplings (like next of kins) that move us from the ‘discreet object’ into landscapes, memories, families or functional groups in the company of which we can find common ground.

About The Artist

I live and work in Brighton and have an occasional home on the Norfolk coast. From these coastal bases I can observe a wide variety of birdlife and behaviour in their habitat. I also look at birds from around the world. I study them through drawing. My particular interest at this point is their expressions, the attitudes that they strike and the seemingly infinite variations between different types of birds.

I put the drawing away, model directly in clay and see what I come up with. Depicting particular species is not necessarily my aim. Some relate closely to the original birds, others are a fusion of several birds, others still move away from their source, inventing new species.

I work quickly over the main body of the bird, a kind of 3D sketch giving the impression of light bulk. I let the clay speak, the marks of the making process are left, showing the energy of modelling and this contributes to the feeling that somehow these birds could be alive and might just move.

The anatomy of the head is worked as precisely as I can but not at the expense of invention. Their facial expressions and attitudes are influenced as much by people as birds.

I finish them using slips, oxides and glazes that evoke both the soft, subtle qualities of plumage and the coastal rocks and chalk from my local landscape.’

“I’ve been making and selling my sculptures for over 25 years now, both here and
abroad. I have dealt with all sorts of galleries. Gallerytop has sustained a diverse
and quality programme of exhibitions over the years. It is good to be part of what
they are doing”

Guy Holder

Standard bottle 3
Standard bottle 1


Sign up for updates about events, news and special offers.