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Phoebe Cummings works predominantly using unfired clay to make poetic and performative sculptures and installations that emphasize material, fragility, time, creation, and decay. Working across fine art, design, and ceramics, Cummings works without a permanent studio and her impressive interventions are constructed directly on site as temporary installations, allowing an instinctive development of tensions between object and location.
In her current work, Cummings practice has developed slightly to exist beyond the duration of the exhibition. Cummings considers what we will carry forward into the future by producing exquisite hand made and extremely fragile sculptures based on ancient plants and ritualistic costumes with magical connotations. These intricate forms are delicately preserved in a thin layer of wax and this new work draws together a sense of English Paganism as well as the excess of Baroque and Rococo design, resulting in objects that might be considered dystopian ornaments of a future anthropology. The work builds on an ongoing interest in time and nature and how this has been represented and stylised through design.
Cummings studied ceramics at Brighton University before returning to Stafford where she now lives and works. In 2017 she was shortlisted as one of 12 finalists in The prestigious Woman’s Hour Craft Prize and her submission 'Antediluvian Swag', 2016 will be shown at the V&A Museum, 7 September 2017 – 5 February 2018, before touring to venues around the UK. Cummings was selected as the winner of the British Ceramics Biennial Award in 2011 and awarded a ceramics fellowship at London’s Camden Arts Centre (2012–13). In addition to this, Cummings’s work has been featured in several group exhibitions, including “60|40 Starting Point Series” at Siobhan Davies Studios, London; “Formed Thoughts” at Jerwood Space, London; and “Swept Away: Dust, Ashes, and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design” at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York. In 2013, she had a solo show at the University of Hawaii Art Gallery in Honolulu.