Jerwood Contemporary Makers show reviewed

Despite thriving individual practices, the applied arts have never matched the prominence, nor the gallery space, of their fine art cousins. The Jerwood Charitable Foundation is inching things forward with a new show that devotes all 240m2 of its gallery behind Tate Modern to contemporary makers. Seven craft artists, including two ceramicists, a textile artist and a letter sculptor, have been commissioned to create new work as well as sharing in the £30 000 commissioning fund. The multidisciplinary event replaces Jerwood’s single practice prize (the Jerwood Applied Arts Prize), which, according to Jerwood curator Edmund de Waal, allows for greater innovation in the way the work is seen. The theme of the inaugural year is ‘touch’, both its physical and emotional connotations, and the show swiftly rouses your tactile curiosity. Drummond Masterton’s metal pieces are pleasingly textured, as are Deirdre Nelson’s shirts which are embroidered with flowers in hide-away places. Clare Twomey’s large piece – a wall of gold leaf coated in porcelain dust – evokes beach holidays and writing in the sand. It also whittles away at the us-and-them of artist and viewer – gallery goers are encouraged to touch the dust and leave their message in the gallery.

Jerwood Contemporary Makers runs from 5-13 June at Jerwood Space, Union Street, London SE1

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