Wonderlump presents a gathering of ceramic entities by Becky Richards.

Richards enlists a troop of unlikely creatures, simultaneously absurd and miraculous. These sculptural characters possess qualities found in the natural world; organic and abundant, the works draw on the animacy of nonhuman forms, with playful reference to trees, boulders and hillocks.

Each work possesses a distinct personality. Familiar shapes are stylised and exaggerated, rendering the works cartoonish. They unfurl, stretch and puff out their chests; their bodies bear traces of fingers and palms — preserved conversations between maker and matter, emphasising the physical properties of clay.

Large-scale ceramic elements are supplemented with mixed-media details — a trunk in tinted mortar, plumes of dried grass, and fragments from a broken windscreen. Objects are supported by custom timber plinths and household stools. These textures, commonplace around streets, gardens and homes, ground Richards’ work in an everyday materiality.

Pale silhouettes of painted hill-forms introduce the feeling of a stage set, framing the installation as theatrical; a dream scene. Many works are bedecked with loops and sparkles, adorned with an excess of embellishments, ready for the spotlight.

In these fantastical works, Richards encourages the viewer to consider the plethora of forms and details in the natural world that hold a similar feeling of material strangeness. Wonderlump expresses the levity that can be found in the lumpen, unfolding realm of organic growth. It speaks to just how bizarre and breathtaking our world can be.

Becky Richards (b. 1988) is an artist, writer, and educator. She grew up in Ōtautahi Christchurch and is currently based in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Richards holds an MFA from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. She is the founder and director of Mud Studios Limited, a shared ceramics studio focused on supporting contemporary practice-led research in clay. 

Becky Richards, Hot New Hair-do, 2020-2021. Photographs by Samuel Hartnett.