Artist: Halima Cassell

I saw Cassell’s solo exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery over the easter break, called ‘Eclectica–global inspirations’.

Inspired by geometry, architecture, natural forms and foreign travel, she creates deeply carved forms in unglazed ceramic, bronze, stone, wood and cast glass.
Video about the exhibition from

One piece particularly caught my attention, this was Noir Rythm 2018:

The bowl shaped structure reminded me so much of dome ceilings in cathedrals I immediately wondered how I could think about her work in relation to the structures in my paintings.
My structures so far have been pretty simple shapes, but what would happen if I pushed the shapes in this direction? Using more specific geometric shapes that create more dimension and could resemble cathedral architecture better than previous shapes.

Dimensions: 24″ x 36″

It’s fascinating to me that these simple sketches turn into such complex three-dimensional shapes. There were a few more sculptures from the exhibition, and more from her website that appear to me as these dome shapes. I am wondering what qualities make some of the sculptures more ‘dome-like’ than others.

Dimensions: 24′ Dia
Hand carved, unglazed stoneware clay

Dimensions: 18 inch D x 4 inch H
Mako,  Hand Carved, unglazed, stoneware

They all have these qualities which make the sculptures appear to me like architectural cathedral domes:
– bowl shaped
– always a point that recedes furthest into the bowl, where the shapes also meet at a point.
-shaping on ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of bowl shape, like the inside and room of dome.
– no pigment added onto sculptural material, only light and shadow creates varying tone and dimension.

These sculptures have the possibility to be posed at an angle to be drawn from, since Cassell works on both the ‘outside’ and the ‘inside’ of the bowls shaped sculptures. It makes me wonder whether I should play with making some three dimensional structures that I then use in my paintings?

To begin, I want to do a series of drawings based on these sculptures, and then see where that takes me, maybe apply these shapes to canopies and cathedrals drawing en plein air.

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