‘There is such simplicity in a good line that it is completely underestimated because it is so incredibly difficult to achieve.’
Patricia Volk’s work explores the relationship between form and colour. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Volk always felt an affinity to art but was denied the opportunity and support to apply to art school. 20 years later and after a successful career in advertising, Volk sat down one night to sketch. Within a year she has applied to study ceramic design — the rest is history.
Volk prefers not to meditate on the construction of her works before she creates. Instead preferring to assemble shapes and lines as she goes, Volk enjoys the organic formations which her sculpture finds. Colour too is an important concept to Volk, who prefers to take inspiration from the bright and bold colours of the past.
Of her practice, Volk states:
“As a sculptor I love working with the directness of clay, using all the techniques, coiling and slab building, making one-off pieces, which are fired then finished with acrylic paint. Classical sculpture was always highly coloured but we have this erroneous idea that they were all white and sterile looking. My obsession as an artist is catching a very simple form or line, then enhancing it with colour. Sometimes these are juxtapositions that I hope suggest contradictions of strength and fragility, stability and precariousness – like the relationships between human beings. But also of rest and activity, grace and motion, that give an object a lively presence and a sense of individual character. But really all this is open to the eye of the beholder. I never want to be too prescriptive, and in saying this much I’ve probably said too much.”
In January 2019 Volk was commissioned by ITV as part of the prestigious ‘ITV Creates’ initiative, making her sculpture visible on screen to millions of television viewers. In 2020 was elected a Royal West of England Academician.
Volk lives and works in the UK. You can watch a discussion between Patricia Volk and Pangolin London director Polly Bielecka here, where she discusses her current exhibition Patricia Volk: Construction.