Richard Slee (b. Cumbria, UK, 1946) studied at Carlisle College of Art & Design (1964–65) and studied ceramics at the Central School of Art & Design (1965–70). He graduated with an MA at the Royal College of Art (1988). Slee lives and works in London.
As one of Britain's most important contemporary ceramic artists, Slee's work attempts to challenge every conventional notion in ceramic art, transcending its utilitarian roots, whilst also sidestepping the self-indulgent aspects of the studio tradition that became ubiquitous in the late twentieth century. His works lie in contemporary debate and reference the current positioning of material specialisations within visual creativity.
For Slee, the objects he produces are intrinsically about the domestic interior and a love for the 'great indoors'. There are fabricated references in the work to the decorative, the ornamental and the symbolic both from past histories and within contemporary culture. These sources, often eclectic, are brought together to explore new meanings and dramas. For now they are resolved since the medium of ceramics permanently fixes them, but, as always, the drama of meaning is contingent and fluid.
In 2000, Richard Slee completed a major commission for Sculpture at Goodwood, and in the following year was awarded The Jerwood Applied Arts Prize for his contribution to contemporary ceramics.
Selected group and solo shows include Studio Voltaire (UK), Object Gallery (Australia), Tramway (Scotland), Hales Gallery (UK), Bonnefantenmuseum (Netherlands), National Museum (Sweden), Victoria & Albert Museum (UK), World Ceramic Centre (Korea) and The West Norway Museum of Decorative Art (Norway). His work was included in the well-received show, Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970–1990 (2011–12), Victoria & Albert (London). Slee's work is represented in numerous collections world-wide, including British Council (UK), Corcoran Museum of Art (New York), Washington Museum of Art and Design (US) and Victoria & Albert Museum (London).