Agalis Manessi is a ceramic artist working from studios in London and Corfu, where she was born. After studying ceramics at the Central School of Art & Design, she was inspired by the teachings of Gordon Baldwin, Eileen Nisbett and Dan Arbeid who encouraged her enthusiasm for the plastic qualities of terracotta clay. After graduation she set up a studio in Hackney where she was a founding member of Broadway Ceramics and taught in further education. In 2018 she relocated her studio to Kennington in south London.
Her work lies within the tradition of maiolica and celebrates this rich historical medium. It strives for poetic mastery through pictorial representation, achieving a freshness of palette that belies the difficulty of the process. Drawing upon experiences of viewing subjects in churches, museums and galleries and observations directly from life, the work is inspired by portraits and animals depicted by a variety of Renaissance painters such as Pisanello and Gentile di Fabriano, Flemish masters like Lucas Cranach, English artists, George Stubbs and Christopher Wood, and the Fauvist work of Franz Marc. Influences find form in animated vessels, portrait dishes and animals and figures that are brought to life by the subtle modelling of the clay and painterly surface qualities of maiolica.
She has exhibited widely in the UK and across Europe. Agalis is a Fellow of the Craft Potters Association and Brother of the Art Workers’ Guild.