Dialogue with Martin Poppelwell.
"I want people to look at my paintings (phrases, clichés) normally first. I find I like going backwards rather than forwards. The whole idea of the progressive artist is to go forward constantly de- stabilise, or to undermine or to subvert, I see my role as something quite different. I go backwards I replace, recreate emptiness where we know meaning exists. By describing an idea in a different way it doesn’t go forward it goes in a different direction than forward. In no respect would I describe myself as a progressive artist.
In terms of an artist working in this point of time and this point in history- I choose not to be too sarcastic, or too cynical, or too ironic. I want to work to suggest that’s what we can think. But I also want work to suggest that we can be innocent and we can also be generous, we can also give people something. And I think that is why a lot of work I do connects with people."
Poppelwell’s ceramic practice has been influenced greatly by Wanganui potter Ross Mitchell – Anyon under whom he studied, but hints of Richard Parker, and Gavin Chillcott are also apparent.
Poppelwell has consistently tried to integrate function with the aesthetic. We are very familiar with his Jugs, bowls, plates and vases generously touched with thick brush strokes of black slip. His works often convey text with both ingenious and ingenuous comments. The application of the graphic grid, or concentric ring patterns, have also been a constant throughout his many years of practice.