Martin McWilliam

1957 -

The Vessel & It's Image


McWilliam's classic trompe-l'oeil effects with his ceramic vessels deceive the eye and demand a second look.

Successful trompe-l'oeil occupies a very shallow space yet persuades the viewer there is volume. McWilliam works with these effects and constructs multidimensional ceramic 'vessels' that are exciting and always command a ‘second take.”

Artist Statement

"What I am looking for in my work with 'clay and fire' lies in their own essential beauty and the play between them - a beauty subjective , difficult to define, control or repeat - something to do with chance coincidence. My methods are as simple / direct as possible where chance has space to surprise. This leads me along a narrow ridge between my will and that of the material".

"I make coil/slab-built Stoneware "Trompe-l'œil" objects, coloured with kaolin slips all wood-fired in a 6 ku/m chamber kiln. They give the idea of simple bowls and jars, of a tradition that has given me a lifelong fascination, but take them into another space of the mind".

The Artist

McWilliam was born in South Africa and lived in England until, during a ceramic residency in Germany over 30 years ago he met and ultimately married. He has made his home and studio in Germany ever since. He regularly shows in London, England.

Martin McWilliam has participated in residencies at the Banff Centre as well as many others around the world.

"ever tried,
ever failed,
never mind, try again, fail again,
fail beautifully"
"fail better"
(S. Beckett")