James Greig: Defying Gravity
“Living forms inhabit a different space from the physical, not bound to gravity”
— James Greig
Defying Gravity brought together a lifetime of sculptural works by potter James Greig (1936–1986). Far beyond the realm of domestic ceramics, Greig’s work was fuelled by his study of European philosophy, Japanese culture, modernist architecture, the natural sciences and his love of the New Zealand landscape..
From early in his career Greig created vessels based on land and plant forms, water and the human body. He cultivated an understanding of the physical qualities of clay by moulding and building sculptural forms, sometimes too big for him to move alone. Exploring the dynamic nature of the medium, he melded slabs together to create almost impossible structures. Expressing his values through clay, he brought life and movement to inert objects.
In 1986, Greig’s career was cut short when he died of a heart attack in Kyoto. As a result of his untimely death, Greig remains something of an unsung figure in New Zealand art and ceramics history, best known to connoisseurs and historians. Defying Gravity seeks to unpack Greig’s practice, share his vision and work with today’s audience, and acknowledge his unique approach which reconfigured the boundaries between ceramics and sculpture.
The Dowse Art Museum | 10 Dec 2016 – 12 Mar 2017