Since early childhood I have expressed myself geometrically, never
representationally, emotionally or gesturally. In Roger Penrose’s
mathematical explanation of the grid of aperiodic tiling (‘Pentaplexity’,
1974), I found the highest geometries; I understood that Phi relations apply
on all levels.
Christina Bryer’s highly trained ceramicist’s hand marries the mathematics of aperiodicity with not only feminine craft (in this exhibition doilies, swatches, flounces, and indigo), but also the metaphysics of cosmic structure.
Inspired by Roger Penrose’s dart and kite patterns, Bryer’s eye picks up on the endlessly repeating patterns in everything from the mosaics of the Alhambra to unicellular organisms to the cross section of a strand of DNA.
As a child it was the five- and six-pointed stars surrounding a double helix pattern in the border of the nursery linoleum that attracted and fascinated her. She soon worked out that if you traced the five-pointed stars, the pattern continued indefinitely whereas with the six-pointed stars you had to lift your finger after three points.
This fascination still holds. The strict discipline of following prescribed grid patterns in her work gives way to a meditative and intuitive process from which straight lines, circles, rhythms and scaling emerge by themselves. “Starting with the absolute of the grid frees you to work with infinite possibilities.” Bryer refrains from controlling the process which amounts to a “quest into the unfathomable depths of the web of aperiodicy.”
It is a two-way dialogue. Viewers confronted with her work sense a harmonious substratum; receive glimpses of absolute principles deeply embedded in the fragile beauty of the present.
Bryer is well known for her mandala porcelain wall plates, both solid and meticulously ‘cut’ to allow a play of shadow and light. The evocative links between clay, star dust (‘from dust to dust’) and patterns contiguous with infinity are especially palpable in the latter.
Bryer exhibits widely, executes tile installation on commission, and is represented in South Africa, New York and Spain. She has won awards as a goldsmith designer (a previous occupation), was invited to exhibit her work at an international conference on cosmology in Cape Town in 2001, and has participated in an art/science collaboration in Antarctica in 2008. In 2011 Her work has been selected for the 9th International Ceramic Exhibition in Mino, Japan.