Ann Van Hoey Ceramics

Ann Van Hoey (b.1956) is a Belgian ceramic artist. She graduated with a degree in Ceramics from the Institute for Arts and Craft in Mechelen in 2006, having previously received her Masters in Applied Economic Sciences at the University of Antwerp in 1979. In 2011, van Hoey became a member of the International Academy of Ceramics. Awarded the rank of Commander in the Order of the Crown by Belgium’s King Philippe for her achievements as a ceramic artist in 2022, Ann has had her work exhibited in countless exhibitions worldwide and has had work selected for many international notable competitions and awards. In 2018, van Hoey was a finalist of the prestigious Loewe Craft Prize. Her work is enshrined in public and private collections of international significance. In 2022, Maud & Mabel were honoured to present a solo-exhibition of a new body of work by this acclaimed ceramicist. 

With a background in commercial engineering spanning twenty years, van Hoey’s unique ceramic practice is foregrounded by mathematical and scientific precision; each piece begins as a mathematical equation and technical impeccability is maintained throughout her process. Her tools, however, are simple - a rolling pin to form slabs of clay, moulds, a knife, and kidney scrapers to finish. Taking the geometry of Japanese zen gardens as inspiration, alongside a significant influence from the Japanese art of origami, van Hoey’s technique of carefully re-assembling cuttings of clay to form a smooth body of porcelain creates finished pieces which, while celebrating well-executed design, still feel effortlessly poetic. In offering the viewer an insight into the mechanics of her making, there is a distinct generosity to her work. Crafted in stoneware, earthenware and porcelain and finished in a variety of techniques including engobe slips, contrasting interiors and the application of surface texture, the surfaces allow the unique forms and their many faces to capture light and shadow with a softness that embraces crisp edges and bold silhouettes. In recent years, Ann’s practise has exhibited novel explorations into surface texture and patterning; often placing her plaster moulds on the wheel and using the motion to make indentations and markings. She has also designed computer generated patterns which are then superimposed onto the forms - a combination of geometric shapes and more romantic, softer styles that recall delicate gauzes or laces. 

For Ann, the cutting is an organic, rhythmic process. Beginning with a base, often a hemisphere or vase-like form, she then cuts in a process that has become more organic as time has gone on - remarking herself that ‘in the beginning a few years ago I did this part in a very geometric, strict way but I have left that behind me’. Ann’s technical knowledge combined with a progressively free and experimental approach to her practice results in a collection of works that playfully teeter on the line between refined structure and poetic movement, a harmony of form which seems at once both grounded and somewhat illogically balanced. 

22 products