MAstars 2014: Sorsha Galvin, MA Ceramics & Glass

MAstars 2014: Sorsha Galvin, MA Ceramics & Glass Sorsha Galvin, Fallen, 2014. Plaster and wax. 50cm x 45cm x 80cm. Credit: Dominic Tschudin

Grant Gibson selects Sorsha Galvin from the Royal College of Art for MAstars

If you’re reviewing a piece of art and you find yourself seeking references from the first chapter of Genesis as well as googling information on a cult eighties horror movie then you know its maker is on to something. Sorsha Galvin’s work pulls off the wonderful trick of being both primal – in 'Fallen' (2014), for example, she covers parts of her body with earthenware before pouring plaster into the mould she’s created, subsequently the clay is peeled away leaving the finished result – and vaguely horrific at the same time.

The biblical allusions aren’t tricky to spot. The story of how God created Adam from the soil in his own likeness is drummed into every primary school child. However, the manner in which Galvin warps and manipulates her body in some of the pieces reminded this critic of Brian Yuzna’s extraordinary movie Society (1989) (voted 78 in Time Out’s list of the 100 Best Horror films incidentally). Which is never a bad thing.

Sorsha Galvin Creep

Sorsha Galvin, Creep, 2014. Bronze. 20cm x 30cm x 20cm. Credit: Dominic Tschudin

Galvin, who did a BA in Fine Art (Ceramics) at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology in Ireland before enrolling at the Royal College, developed an interest in clay because, she explains, ‘It was already in my world. I was surrounded by lots of clay objects. It was something familiar but kind of strange.’

She says her graduating work ‘comes from this initial interaction with the clay. I’m always looking at the type of marks that I’m making and the type of traces that are left behind. The whole work started because I was looking at this idea of the trace being able to hold some kind of presence of the person who made it. But also there was this real emptiness and absence in the same thing and that was a very physical, visceral thing for me to feel.’

Now she’s graduated she’ll be staying in London and setting up a studio with a handful of her fellow students. It seems to me that she’s definitely one to watch for the future.

Selected by Grant Gibson
Published August, 2014

View Sorsha Galvin's profile >

About Grant Gibson

Grant Gibson is a design, craft and architecture writer whose work has turned up in places like The Observer, New Statesman, The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, FRAME, Dwell, and quite a few others. During his time Grant has been editor of Blueprint, deputy editor of FX, acting executive editor of the RIBA Journal and launch editor of the London Design Festival Guide. He's currently the editor of Crafts, as well as a contributing editor to the Dutch architecture title MARK. In 2011 he was made an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Art. Space Craft: architecture meets making, a new exhibition Grant has curated for the Crafts Council, recently completed a run at Habitat's Platform gallery on the King's Road, London and will subsequently be touring the UK.

Further information


 Next MAstar