Victoria Gallery & Museum
Francis Upritchard (b.1976, New Plymouth, New Zealand) is based in London. Her work has been widely exhibited in national and international art venues. Upritchard represented New Zealand at the Venice Biennial (2009). Recent solo exhibitions include Francis Upritchard, The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA (2014); the Whitechapel Gallery Children’s Art Commission (2014); A Hand of Cards, Nottingham Contemporary (2012); and In die Höhle, Sezession, Vienna, Austria (2010).
Upritchard is equally drawn to the history of figurative sculpture and to a wide range of craft and artisan traditions around the world. From ceramic techniques to glass blowing, enamelling to welding, Upritchard’s installations and objects, which often feature archetypal figures, push these practices in new directions, creating a striking and original visual language of their own.
As part of the Contemporary Art Society Sculpture Fund (supported by Cathy Wills), Victoria Gallery & Museum now co-owns works by Haroon Mirza, Brian Griffiths and Helen Marten. These works provide a basis for developing examples of contemporary sculptural practice within the museum’s collection. Harlequin Vase with Face will also add to the museum’s contemporary holdings in showcasing the diversity of sculpture today and enhancing the presence of female artists in the collection.
Upritchard’s interest in folk, myth and ancient rituals links well with the historic fine art and museum heritage collections at Victoria Gallery & Museum, especially with a group of Peruvian pots collected by the university’s Latin American studies department. Though these are 600 to 800 years old, the custom of incorporating human features in vessels that could also be functional clearly resonates with Upritchard’s Harlequin Vase with Face.
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society, 2015.