Stilboestrol

The life of computer scientist and mathematician Alan Turing, renowned for his pioneering work, notably at Bletchley Park in WW2, has inspired several pieces of ceramic work over the last year.

Portrait of Christopher (50 x 70 cm) was my first attempt at using finely rolled clay sections to build up a larger composite piece, inspired by archival images of early computers and Turing's school friend Christopher Morcom.

The delicacy of the process, from construction through to firing, taught me a lot about the boundaries of clay, its handling and transportation.

This piece was selected for the 165 Royal West of England Academy Open Exhibition last year and was exhibited flat on perspex. 

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In Japan I undertook further experiments and used inlay techniques to build up a drawn image with stoneware clay - working with large format kilns also allowed me to produce single pieces.

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I have now completed my first large scale sculptural ceramic drawing - Stilboestrol (100 x 150 cm).

Stilboestrol, a form of oestrogenwas the drug Alan Turing was injected with when he was convicted of 'Homosexual Acts' in 1952. It was this treatment, known as Chemical Castration, which he underwent in lieu of a prison sentence. He died two years later when a verdict of suicide by cyanide poisoning was given.

The composite ceramic piece is designed as a wall hanging and whilst it remains a very fragile structure it is my first successful attempt at a three dimensional drawing.

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Images by Max McClure