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Cheryl Tall’s sculpture uses metaphor and myth to create a surrealistic wonderland. Her work touches on social and environmental issues, relationships, belonging and displacement, nostalgia, inherited histories, and the search for meaning and place.
She works with clay, metal, canvas, paint, altered books, tiles, cement, printmaking and photography. By texturing the clay, and using layers and layers of glaze, slip and oxides, she creates a rich surface with the muted colors of old tapestry.
Ranging in size from 7 inches to 7 feet tall, the figures have a primitive realism feel, inspired by the artist’s study of medieval sculpture. Narrative and dream images have been a recurring theme in much of Tall’s work. By combining contemporary references with ancient stories, Tall seeks to explore the nature of being human.
"All the Tea in China", 24x9x9”", terra cotta, polychrome slip, glaze, terra sigillata, copper oxide.
This sculptural teapot was made after a trip to China, where I visited Macau, Hong Kong, Bejing and Shanghai. I realized that, as clay artists, our influences and inspirations are derived from many different sources. In this sculpture, I wanted to honor the colors, shapes and textures I saw in the Chinese ceramics.
The title phrase, All the Tea in China, came from a 19th century saying. At that time, China produced one fourth of the world's production of tea. So, to decline the offer to do something 'for all the tea in China' was to be really determined to not do it, no matter what is offered!