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Stephen Dixon studied Fine Art at Newcastle University and Ceramics at the Royal College of Art, graduating in 1986. He currently holds the chair of Professor of Contemporary Crafts at Manchester School of Art, investigating contemporary narratives in ceramics. His work features in numerous public and private collections, including the Museum of Arts & Design, New York; the Victoria and Albert Museum; the British Council; the Crafts Council; the Royal Museum of Scotland and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. He was a Trustee of the Crafts Council from 2009 to 2013, and is a member of the Art and Design sub-panel for REF 2021.
Early exhibitions in London with Contemporary Applied Arts and the Crafts Council established a reputation for ceramics with a biting political and social satire. Anatol Orient introduced Dixon’s figurative vessels to the U.S.A. in the early nineties, resulting in solo exhibitions at Pro-Art, St. Louis
(1993) Garth Clark Gallery, New York (1995) and Nancy Margolis Gallery, New York (1998). Dixon’s politically engaged ceramic practice was comprehensively surveyed in a major solo exhibition ‘The Sleep of Reason’, a twenty-year retrospective showcased at Manchester Art Gallery in 2005, which subsequently toured the U.K.
In 2006 Dixon travelled to Australia as part of The HAT Project, to investigate the effects of dislocation on the creation of cultural artefacts. This experience provoked a shift away from the ceramic vessel as a vehicle for narrative, towards intervention and installation works such as ‘Bush Pantry’ (2007), ‘Monopoly’ (2009) and ‘Letters from Tripoli’ (2011). He was awarded the inaugural V&A ceramics studio residency in 2009, where he embarked on a new body of work exploring political portraiture. (‘Restoration Series’ 2011-2013).
Dixon combines his studio ceramic practice with regular forays into public and community arts. In 2000 he received an Arts Council Year of the Artist award for ‘Asylum’, a collaborative project with Amnesty International U.K. and Kosovan refugees. Recent public engagement projects ‘Resonance’, ‘Resonate’ and ‘The Lost Boys’ have examined commemoration and the material resonance of archives and objects, in the context of the centenary of World War 1. ‘Passchendaele: mud and memory’ focused specifically on the materiality of the conflict, using terracotta clay sourced from the battlefields of the Western Front.
2019 Passchendaele: Mud and Memory. Passchendaele Memorial Museum, Belgium, 1 February to 1 June.
2017 Refuge: Ropner’s Ghost Ship. Preston Park Museum, Teesside. (With Alison Welsh.) 3 October to 12 November.
Passchendaele: Mud and Memory. National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas. 8 July to 19 November.
2015 Resonance. Staffordshire Museums WW1 touring exhibition. (With Johnny Magee.) 9 March 2015 to 30 April 2016.
2015 Resonate installation, British Ceramics Biennial, Stoke-on-Trent. (With Johnny Magee.) 26 September to 8 November.
2014 Fragments and Narratives. Yorkshire Artspace, Sheffield.
2013 Restoration Series. V&A, London.
2009 Travellers’ Tales. Contemporary Applied Arts, London.
2008 Embedded Narratives. The Loft, Mumbai.
2005 The Sleep of Reason. Manchester Art Gallery, and touring.
Stephen Dixon: Plates and Vessels. Black Swan Arts, Frome.
2004 Savage Indignation. Contemporary Applied Arts, London.
21 Countries. Imperial War Museum North, Manchester.
SELECTED GROUP SHOWS:
2019 Cultural Icons: remaking a popular pottery tradition.
The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent. 14 September to 17 November, 2019.
Touring to Hove Museum and Art Gallery 28 November 2019 to 1 March 2020.
2019 Graphic Pots. Oxford Ceramics Gallery. 21 September to 26 October.
2019 Breakable (2019) [Video] Johnny Magee, Stephen Dixon. Manchester. At: Legacies of the First World War Festival: Diversity, Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham. 23 March.
2018 Criminal Ornamentation: Yinka Shonibare MBE curates the Arts Council Collection. Touring UK Museums and Art Galleries, including Yorkshire Sculpture Park. 21 September 2018 to 28 September 2019.
2018 Heart:Beat. Touchstones, Rochdale. 20 January to 14 April.
2017 Refugee Tales. British Ceramics Biennial, Stoke-on-Trent. 22 September to 5 November.
Heart:Beat. British Ceramics Biennial, Stoke-on-Trent. 22 September to 5 November.
2017 Variations on a Theme: Teapots from RAM’s Collection. Racine Art Museum, Wisconsin USA. 29 January to 9 July.
2016 The Lost Boys: Remembering the Boy Soldiers of the First World War. MMU Special Collections Gallery, Manchester. 13 June to 26 August.
EXPOSED: Heads, Busts and Nudes. Ferrin Contemporary, Cummington, Mass. USA. 18 June to 1 August.
2015 RE- reanimate, repair, meld and mend. Bluecoat Display Centre, Liverpool, 9 October to 14 November.
2014 Sculptural Forms: A Century of Experiment. Manchester Art Gallery.
Hidden Agenda: Socially Conscious Craft. A Crafts Council Touring exhibition.
Magic Mud: Masterworks in Clay. Racine Arts Museum, Wisconsin.
Re-Collection. Museum of Arts and Design, New York.
2013 Friendship Forged in Fire: British Ceramics in America. American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California.
Cotton Exchange. Rajnagar Textile Mill, Ahmedabad, India.
Print and Clay, ANCA Gallery, Canberra.
Top 10 at 10: Favorites from RAM’s Collection. Racine Arts Museum, Wisconsin.
Subversive Design. Brighton Museum and Art Gallery.
2012 Ceramics and Print in International Contemporary Ceramics. Ann Linnemann Gallery, Copenhagen. Allowed Voices. New Schoolhouse Gallery, York.
2011 BCB Award exhibition, Potteries Museum, Stoke-on-Trent.
Memoranda, Crafts Study Centre, Farnham.
R & R, Contemporary Applied Arts, London.
COLLECT Saatchi Gallery, London.
2010 Fired Up: Ceramics and Meaning, Gallery Oldham.
Fall Out: War and Conflict in the British Council Collection. Whitechapel Gallery, London.
COLLECT, Saatchi Gallery, London.
2009 Ahmedabad International Arts Festival, India.
BCB Awards Exhibition, Potteries Museum, Stoke-on-Trent.
Allegory, Crafts Study Centre, Farnham.
2008 Permanently MAD. The Museum of Arts and Design, New York.
Brit by Brit. Robert Morris University Gallery, Pittsburgh.
2007 The HAT Project. The British Council, New Delhi.
Mechanical Drawing: the Schiffli Project, touring exhibition, U.K.
200 Years: Slavery Now. Bluecoat Display Centre, Liverpool.
2006 Surface Tension. The Jam Factory, Adelaide, Australia.
Ceramique Contemporaine Internationale. Vallauris, France.
2005 Figuring Narratives. Glynn Vivian Art gallery, Swansea.
2004 British Ceramic Masterworks. Arizona University Art Museum.