Melanie takes centre stage at York gallery’s new ceramics centre

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FRAMED by the Victorian splendour of York Art Gallery’s new first floor space, Grayson Perry’s Melanie casts a striking figure.

Based on a contestant on a Miss Plus Size International competition, Melanie is one of a three-piece portrait created last year by the artist called The Three Graces.

Curator of Ceramics at York Museums Trust, Helen Walsh looks at York Art Gallery's new acquisition, Grayson Perry's large scale ceramic figure titled Melanie.  ''Picture Tony Johnson

Curator of Ceramics at York Museums Trust, Helen Walsh looks at York Art Gallery's new acquisition, Grayson Perry's large scale ceramic figure titled Melanie. ''Picture Tony Johnson

It was been acquired by the gallery to sit in its new Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA), which will opening alongside the rest of the gallery after an £8m transformation on August 1.

Perry was the first artist producing pottery to win the Turner Prize in 2003, and has become one of Britain’s best known contemporary artists,

Melanie and The Three Graces were created for the Channel 4 series Who Are You?, are her stance echoes fertility figures such as the Venus of Willendorf, which were amongst the earliest modelled ceramics known, some dating back 11,000 years.

Helen Walsh, curator of ceramics, said: “We are thrilled with the new addition to our ceramics collection. Grayson Perry is arguably the best known potter in the UK today and, as such, we felt that his work should be represented in CoCA.

Grayson Perry's Melanie.  Picture Tony Johnson

Grayson Perry's Melanie. Picture Tony Johnson

Melanie is one of Grayson’s most recent works; a voluptuous figurative piece with a strong narrative which discusses the changing view of what constitutes feminine beauty.

“We are confident that the acquisition of this powerful and unusual work will be a strong addition to our collection of British ceramic art which is already the largest and most significant collection in the UK.”

YMT card holders can get an exclusive preview of Melanie on July 23. Cards can be purchased on the day from York Art Gallery.

Grayson Perry's Melanie.  Picture Tony Johnson

Grayson Perry's Melanie. Picture Tony Johnson