My education and training has been located within the ceramics template: B.A
(Hons) degree in Ceramics, from Bath Spa University and post graduate degree in Ceramics from Cardiff Metropolitan University, the nature of my practice includes work in; clay, ceramic, installation, film, photography, performance and drawing. During the last five years my work has undergone a dynamic shift from material based work towards participatory and socially engaged practice, recorded through the mediums of film and photography. This significant departure formed the practical element of a recently completed PhD by practice, from The University of Sunderland.
I have exhibited nationally and internationally for more than 20 years attending artists’ residencies in Europe and America. My work is represented in the collections of The Philadelphia Clay Studio, The European Ceramics Work Centre, The Glyn Vivian Museum and Art Gallery and The National Museum of Wales. I have collaborated with filmmakers, editors, photographers, artists and curators in order to facilitate my numerous projects and commissions. Working outside of the traditional studio based format with partner organisations and expertise, which include; Ibstock Brick Company, The National Parks of Wales, The University of Wales Engineering Department, The Department of Automotive Design, Swansea University, The National Museum of Wales and The Glynn Vivian Museum and Art Gallery.
My work is underpinned by a fascination with clay as a medium; the history of clay use is the history of humanity; it is the material that binds us to the earth that we inhabit. The constant cycle of life and death is a recurring theme within my practice, and the use of my own body within a figurative narrative reflects this.
My practice encompasses craft, film/video, sculpture and installation. Making begins with a concept and work is created in response to that, an approach that provides a counterpoint to ceramic object making, as Anthony Shapland describes in the accompanying essay for my first major solo show, Primary Object,
‘David Cushway uses clay as a medium for expression rather than a sculptural material. Often shunning traditional methods, he pushes the boundaries of ceramics by exploring a variety of forms and techniques using his knowledge of the physical properties of clay, whilst making particular reference to its historical role.’
My work, in essence, uses the most fundamental material, clay, to explore the fundamentals of the human condition Through the use of the body and examination of the artefact, the universal is explored through the personal. My practice is often based on personal experiences and beliefs and works to communicate the collective human experience.
‘Their explorations challenge the compartmentalisation of genres and resist either/or classification of art or craft, sculpture or ornament. This is particularly true of David Cushway, whose conceptual approach unsettles conventional definitions of both ceramics and figuration.’
As Dr Jo Dahn describes above, my work transcends what can be described as traditional working practice within the current ceramic discourse. I constantly seek to represent ideas and concepts using clay as a material in new and challenging formats.
My practice operates in the arenas between art and craft and is often a direct comment upon the difference and indeed common ground between the two.