CSAD Masters Show 2017: Ceramics Student Uses Empirical Process to Achieve Philosophical Progress

​11/09/2017

Twenty three year old Nathan Mullis, from Cardiff is in the early stages of his artistic career and has just completed a Masters degree in Ceramics at Cardiff School of Art and Design. 

He already has an impressive record of exhibitions. This September, his latest project, “Small Worlds”, will be showcased at the CSAD Masters Degree Show and also displayed at this year’s British Ceramics Biennale FRESH prize.

Nathan is aesthetically drawn to everyday objects and structures that dominate our immediate environment, he shapes raw material - mainly clay and ceramics - to create environments inspired by his imagination and intuition.

His Masters final project, ‘Small Worlds’, is a series of 20 independent sculptures, which work collectively in harmony.

Nathan explains: “The objects cohere to the same universal similarities I find myself in, voicing the ‘primal’, which is what unites them. The sculptures create a language that comes together to create a bridge between the past and present to characterise an aesthetic distinctiveness.

“To some extent, the language of these sculptures creates a discourse which displaces and modifies each other. The sculptures are drawn from a subconscious instinct, a raw urge to withdraw oneself from mind to physical rendition and rendition to form.

“My approach is empirical in nature and draws on my experiences and observations, where I create and respond to the material intuitively. Each object has an individual pre-sense, yet when they exist collectively the dialogue is more complex, which in turn extends the narrative.”

The genesis of “small worlds” goes all the way back to Nathan’s childhood memories, which continue to fuel his imagination today. But the project really started developing from an extensive exploration of clay during his final Undergraduate year studying Fine Art at CSAD.

He says: “ Without the extensive and open facilities the University invites and the wide breadth of resources it has, none of this would be possible.”

For Nathan, no choice of material is left to chance. Ceramics requires plenty of patience and can become costly.

He says: “Although contemporary ceramics has been around for a long time, it has never been so popular as in the last 15 years, and in the past few Ceramics has made an important revival in the world of Fine Art.

“I believe I am so engaged with the work of artists like Anish Kapoor or Ron Nagle, because of how they construct meaning through the selectiveness of their materials and how they further manipulate those materials for the greater audience, ‘fabricating’ immense sculptures that captivate and engage your vision.”

Nathan is about to join CSAD’s Incubation Unit, which allows young developing artists and creative practitioners to kickstart their careers, by providing them with a studio and exhibition space to enable them to support themselves on the beginning their journeys in the artistic world.

He has also received a £1000 bursary from the Fenton Arts Trust as well as being selected for the prestigious FRESH Prize in Stoke on Trent, which has selected just 22 from 110 talented recent Ceramics graduates from across the UK and Ireland to exhibit from 23 September to 5 November 2017. 

To see more of Nathan's work, see http://www.nathanmullisartist.co.uk/ @nathmully

The Cardiff School of Art and Design Masters Show is open until Septmber 13th (from 10am to 4pm) on our Llandaff Campus.