Julian Stair: The Matter of Life and Death, York St Mary’s

Showcasing the work of one of the UK’s most acclaimed potters, The Matter of Life and Death is a new installation by Julian Stair, opening at York St Mary’s 10 May. Exploring the rituals surrounding death, and their place in human history, the works have been created in response to ceramics from the collections of York Museums Trust, including pieces over a thousand years of age. The exhibition features more than 30 works, varying from Egyptian canopic jars to Roman head pots, which will provide inspiration for Stair’s own pieces.

On display inside York St Mary’s, a church dating back to the 13th Century, The Matter of Life and Death is a counterpart to Stair’s touring show, Quietus, which opened at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, on April 6. Quietus features a collection of Stair’s very beautiful funerary vessels, from cinerary jars to monumental life-size sarcophagi. An artist who has exhibited all over the world, Stair is well known for his subtle palette of greys, reds and white as well as its variety of scale – from domestic to monumental. The scale of the objects he has chosen from the York Museum Trust’s collections will reflect this, and his works will be in stoneware, brick and clay.

Julian Stair: The Matter of Life and Death, 10 May until 7 July, York St Mary’s, York.

1. Quietus, Julian Stair, 2012, copyright Julian Stair/MIMA.