Mike O’Connor assembled what is arguably the most important private collection of works by Ewen Henderson and Gordon Baldwin. He had long friendships with both artists and the opportunity to select works from each artist’s studio before the works went to dealers and exhibitions.
This exhibition, previously held at the Verey Gallery of Eton College earlier this year, draws on the O’Connor collection to explore connections and contrasts between Baldwin and Henderson, who are two of the most important and influential 20th century British artists working in clay.
“Gordon and Ewen are seemingly opposites, but both questioned the making of ceramics and came up with completely different answers, both equally valid an exciting.” —Smith O’Connor
Eton College has long had connections to Baldwin, who taught ceramics and sculpture there for thirty-nine years, but also with Mike O’Connor, as he also worked there for a time. Mike met Baldwin at Eton College, and encountered Henderson’s work later but became good friends of both the artist and his wife. Eton was a fitting location to display works from Mike’s collection, and we’re now pleased to make this exceptional group of ceramics viewable to our London audience.
“On the face of it, the two ceramic artists exhibited together here could not be more different. Gordon Baldwin’s sculptural vessels, with their smooth, painterly surfaces, and considered forms, stand perfectly balanced. Although invariably asymmetrical, enquiring, the questions they explore elucidated with patches, pocks, grids and lines, they have a poised authority. Ewen Henderson’s sculptures, by contrast, seem to re-enact the drama of their making. Craggy, rough, your eye dances over their surfaces, drawn from one excitement of texture or colour to another, discovering their formal logic as you move around them. They seem to triumph in accident, just as mountains owe their magnificence to cataclysmic movements beneath the earth’s surface.” —Emma Crichton-Miller
The exhibition is open until the 23rd of November and is fully illustrated here. Installation photos of the works on display at Eton College are viewable here. A catalogue was also produced for the exhibition at Eton, and a digital copy may be read here.