Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mixed bag

Craft Victoria has an unusual combination of exhibitions on at the moment that all have a ceramic component. They finish this weekend and at 2pm on Saturday there will be artist talks by the exhibitors, which I imagine will be fascinating. 

I was excited by the idea of seeing three ceramic exhibitions in one space but I must admit to slight confusion and disappointed in the lack of relationship between the shows. Although the exhibiting spaces at Craft Vic are segregated to some degree, there is a sense of journey when you walk along the elongated space to the tucked away room at the back and I felt a little jostled by the disparate nature of the exhibits.

 That said, the shows themselves offered much to consider.

Gary Bish's work is a display of mastery in technique by an accomplished artist. In The Vessel: A Space Oddity Bish aims to "explore the nature of perspective and create an effect that warps the viewer's sensation of space."

His forms appear to reference antiquities while surface images and text suggest futuristic ideas and portals in time and space. 

Although not objects with which I felt a personal relationship I admired the skill, attention to detail and finesse of the pieces and I enjoyed the contemplation of past and future the pieces provoke, still maintaining their resolution and completeness.

Jacob Ogden Smith's Pottery Practise Project in Gallery 2 frustrated me. It had a great brief that you can read here and I am glad to see someone exploring representations of pottery in mediums of popular entertainment (if someone mentions Ghost to me one more time... I swear....)  but I found the exhibit confusing. Watching a video of a potter striking his work in progress with his long hair is most certainly surprising and entertaining. Listening to the artist's talk would no doubt be of great benefit but to view the exhibit without further explanation felt incomplete.


That 'tucked away room at the back' at Craft Vic is so often the space that surprises and delights me and this visit was no exception.

Kirsten Perry's installation Home Time captured my imagination, as her work so often does. Her anthropomorphic building forms and small objects are slightly repellent yet make you want to cuddle them, achieving the exhibitions directive of "subtly interrogating the void between emotional states and the material forms used to represent them."

Kirsten uses a variety of materials, on a small and large scale with equal success. I was particularly taken with a shelf of miniature objects that took oddly familiar forms and, with the suggestion of eyes, turned them into adorable characters.

My favorite was somewhat reminiscent of Brendan Huntley's ceramics...

A rock only it's mother could love!

I don't think I will be able to make the talks on Saturday, more's the pity, but I recommend a visit to this mixed bag of exhibitions at Craft Vic before they close. Always a joy to see ceramics take the limelight for a moment.

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