Ceramics An Atlas of Forms

Glenn Barkley

A unique global, cultural history through five thousand years of ceramic forms.

What can we learn about the Roman Empire from an amphora made in 200 BCE? How can a simple, unadorned cup made in 1945 tell us so much about history? And what will an artwork comprising a vast collection of clay spheres tell our descendants about the act of making?

Once fired, clay has the strength to last for millennia. Practical uses aside, ceramic objects are a testament to the power and innovation of ancient and ongoing cultural traditions. A single piece can tell an invaluable story about its time, the people who made it, how it was collected, or its role within a broader cultural network.

Ceramics: An Atlas of Forms is a global cultural study told through the lens of ceramics. Organized chronologically—from an Egyptian ceremonial jar made over five thousand years ago to works by twentieth-century luminaries Lucie Rie and Bernard Leach, contemporary artists and entirely unknown makers—this collection weaves a tale of rich cultural stories through the diverse history of ceramics, honoring the artists who have left their mark on this timeless practice.


Glenn Barkley


Glenn Barkley is an artist, writer, curator, and gardener based in Sydney, Australia. Barkley was previously senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (2008-2014) and curator of the University of Wollongong Art Collection (1996-2007). His work can be found in most Australian public collections, including the National Gallery of Australia. He is represented by the Mindy Solomon Gallery in the United States.