Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

What Art Exhibitions Mean to Us

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

What Art Exhibitions Mean to Us

Article excerpt

ART exhibitions can impress, confuse, entertain, and educate.

They can introduce us to aspects of a different culture, show us how ideas can be translated through materials, and even how humour can relieve the everyday hum-drum.

The Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery, with its extensive and diverse public collections, is ideally placed to mount fascinating, challenging, and totally engrossing exhibitions. Gallery M, at the top of the stairs, is hosting an elegant display of ceramics that salutes traditional Japanese techniques.

The title of the exhibition "Wabi-sabi" introduces the dual concepts that are intrinsic to the visual aesthetics of Japanese ceramics.

The excellent room sheet explains that "wabi" refers to austere beauty and the contemplation of flawed forms, while "sabi" suggests the passage of time and the patina of usage.

These aspects underpin a reverence for the hand-made in which texture and tone, a fingerprint of the artist, a seemingly spontaneous glaze, or traces of a smoky firing imbue the work with a unique quality that honours imperfection, impermanence, and incompleteness as an art form.

The artists represent a roll call of significant ceramicists such as master of glazes, Shigeo Shiga, whose use of Australian clays and minerals was very influential. Carl and Phillip McConnell, Col Levy, Harry Memmott, Errol Barnes, and Kevin Grealy are but a few who have interpreted the notion of 'wabi-sabi' in personal ways.

Perhaps one of the most impressive presentations is "Thinking of Morandi," a subtle understatement by the late Gwyn Hanssen-Pigott. …

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