Magazine article Ceramics Art & Perception

Conversations of Nine

Magazine article Ceramics Art & Perception

Conversations of Nine

Article excerpt

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EACH ARTIST HAS A STORY TO TELL AND A JOURNEY TO take to do so. It is the object that communicates beyond the maker--if you listen. Nine artists, Maiju Altpere-Woodhead, Avi Amesbury, Anna Gianakis, Carole Epp, Emilka Radlinska, Sarah Rice, Mel Robson, Joanne Searle and Lia Tacjnar travelled north to The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) conference in Kentucky USA, to tell their stories. Bringing together their unique approaches to material and content as a collective unit, the artists presented the exhibition Convergence: north south dialogue. This exhibition brought together a group of artists whose practices had been significant in influencing each other's work. Together they had shared ideas, technical information and theoretical pursuits. The outcome of their supportive community is work of a high level of craftsmanship, commitment and critical inquiry, visible in the works presented on exhibition.

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Stacked, ordered, arranged, describes the compositions created by Anna Gianakis. They appear as if they have tumbled together in a messy act of placement. However, each component is deliberately positioned to create a distinct configuration. Playing with light and space, the faceted vessels of Amorphous generate movement through subtle variations in scale. Each element has a sense of a distinct interior and exterior, begging to be rearranged so this can be explored. Key to the development of the composition is the connection between the exterior mass and interior volume. The mass of the ceramic material used to create the composition is mirrored by the volume of liquid the vessels can hold. Gianakis's work is considered and measured, giving tangible expression to the connection between the maker, material and process.

It is often said that we are creatures of habit, calculating and constructing our world. But recent travel has shown me that the constructed environment loses a sense of place and belonging. I believe we are more creatures of place and belonging to place is a desire. It is this desire that leads artist Avi Amesbury to dig into the depths of the earth and find her connection. Through a complex process of constructing, stamping, applying layers of slips and glazes and finally deconstructing slabs of clay, Amesbury delves into her sense of disposition from place and creates objects imbued with layers of texture; fleeting fragments of expression and rich hues of earth. The forms are stamped and painted with a complex web of imagery, alluding to the landscape and the connection the artist has developed. The bowls pool with memory and the cylinders reflect a container of experience. Through her work Avi Amesbury has realised her own sense of belonging.

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The life of an object, however, extends beyond the maker who can only invest in it so much. Objects are social creatures, flitting from maker to owner, and being passed on to others. It is this aspect of objects that attracts maker Carole Epp. Beginning as a project to challenge and develop her technical skill, Epp's work soon became a dialogue between maker, object and user. Makers place value on the objects they create, their intent is systematically thought out from the objects conception through to who will purchase it and how it will be used. This act was probed further by Epp in the creation of the Snow Series. A series of stackable cups, bowls and vases ask the viewer to impart his or her own values on these objects, offering the opportunity to select, stack and recreate a sequence or group of objects which appeal only to them. Seemingly devoid of the maker's touch, the crisp white industrial forms appear to have no memory of the hand. However, lean over to peek inside and notice the slight slip of the maker's hand creating an imperfect circle, or pick one up and see your own fingers through its translucent surface, and the handmade is exposed. …

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