Group Show: Clay

4 May - 10 June 2023
Exhibition Text

'Paper & Clay' brings together the work of twenty-nine Australian artists traversing the timeless materiality of two enduring artforms. Unencumbered by dense conceptual wilderness, the works in this show posit medium as both object and subject in a shared celebration of physical form.

Processes of glazing, inscribing, hand-building and throwing come together in a joint exploration of the texture and tactility of clay, and its vast symbolic potential. Buried deeply into clay's soft, pliable flesh is the promise of creation. We can feel the primordial dance of clay from slab to shape, from earth to fire, choreographed by the artist's hand. One of the oldest artforms, the ceramic medium articulates histories near and far. It crosses temporal bounds to ancient humanity, when the earth was an artistic bounty. The ceramic artists in this exhibition seem to gesture, gently, towards this unshakable past. Consciously eschewing recent trends in the medium, they engage with the vessel, the container, both thematically and formally. Nods to nature and antiquity - via organic finishes and traditional profiles - hint at the importance of humility and simplicity; a refreshing sentiment in current times. 

Paper, like clay, has a history of being simultaneously utilitarian and aesthetic. For millennia it has played a pivotal role in written and visual culture, the everyday-ness of its origins mingling with the elevation of art in ways that carve open a valuable entry point for the viewer. Together, the painters this presentation show us the different ways paper holds pigment - absorbing ink into its porous skin in an osmotic embrace, or propping paint atop its surface like a veil. Areas of paper are exposed in some works and obscured in others, taking us on a pendulum swing between revelation and concealment. 

Suffusing the works in 'Paper & Clay' is a shared observance of the natural world. Wild, sweeping landscapes and organic surfaces converse with gentle still lifes and close-up fragments of flora as each artist looks to the world around them for inspiration, and guidance. Vessels forged from the earth, fortified by fire, tell tales of hardship and immutability, while vivacious painted topographies lure us into the embryonic energy of natural forces.  

It's tempting to pit the ephemerality of paper against the endurance of clay, certainly, but the works in this speak of relationship, and resemblance. Formal and figurative conversations between the mediums celebrate the power and prowess of the artist's hand. Each piece is decidedly human, a crucible of creation, tradition, and truth.

This exhibition is presented in collaboration with OBODO Contemporary Furniture featuring the Maiori 'Huggy' collection designed by international, award winning designer Antonie Lesur. 'Huggy' is a playful, curvy, indoor/outdoor furniture collection which perfectly lends itself to the timeless materiality of this show.

Installation Views