In their first joint exhibition, painter Dee Nickerson and ceramicist Clare Cummins exhibit brand new artworks in the prestigious Lower Ground Gallery at Gallery in the Lanes, Norwich. Friends for over thirty years, Dee and Clare’s works are deeply rooted in their Norfolk surroundings.
Gallery in the Lanes in conversation with Clare Cummins
Your pots are earthy and raw and you dig your own clay. What importance does environment have in your life and practice?
I like poking about in the undergrowth and seeing nature on all levels, such as sticks and stones of interesting shapes and colours. I always have pebbles and seeds in my pockets.
Your pots are figurative. What might they tell us about you?
My first “figure pot” was a result of having a lover with a beautiful torso. Now the figure pots are rounder, bit like me. I like to see them in groups so there are relationships between them.
What is your greatest indulgence?
My indulgences are filter coffee and Golden Virginia Yellow roll-ups.
Gallery in the Lanes in conversation with Dee Nickerson
What inspires you and your work?
Something I will see or hear will trigger a memory; the changing of the seasons, different light around me or something I hear on the bus.
Do you see yourself in any of the characters you paint?
Some of my characters are based on an imaginary self. It’s not necessarily me exactly, but it might represent how I might like to feel at that moment. I reach out to other people by painting moments we all share. Sometimes it’s interesting to stand back from the image afterwards and see patterns that have come out. What was going on in my life might have been coming out subconsciously. My colour palette is dictated by the seasons.
What is your earliest memory of being creative?
Three years old and drawing animals for my aunts and uncles on Boxing Day. I realised I was drawing something and getting a thrill from it.
The animals you paint have as much personality as the people because you capture their spirit.
I try to represent them as I see them in nature, although everything does come from my head. I do spend a lot of time standing around in fields staring at people and things!
I’m quite eclectic really, I love all the arts and I suppose they all have some kind of influence on me. David Bowie has been quite an influence in the past and I was listening to him when I made that painting. But it was more about bringing back the memory of me at that time. I listen to things and enjoy things that I didn’t think I would when I was younger. I like [Brian] Eno. My cats love Eno, they really chill out.
What’s your favourite memories with Clare?
I remember meeting her, she was fierce! I remember when all her children were born. I remember walking through Norwich when we got off the train one day when it was pouring with rain. We had summer clothes on and it was just one of those summer storms and the streets were just rivers, we were soaked to the skin. She might tell you about that, there’s a detail I shouldn’t reveal…