Cranes and Fishes – Vessels

Cranes and Fishes – Vessels

May 1997

A shift in focus between sea and city is reflected in the recent work “Cranes and Fishes”. Perhaps surprisingly the cranes do not refer to the bird species but rather the mechanical crane sitting atop the skyline of Sydney. Working in the inner city, the language of the crane each day creating a new juxtaposition of form, soon made itself evident in the shift of masses, spouts and handles of the new pots. In a literal and a littoral sense too, these cranes reminded me of monster fishing tackle hanging their bait, cables dangling from the rooftops. This combined with an earlier involvement with sea forms creates a surreal world of scale and fin.

The vessels here are also a mixture of natural forms and mechanical structures as private ideas reveal themselves. The principle that my vessels should be for use is important, however, this does not imply any intention of actual use. There is a continuing development of forms that are interpretations of everyday objects, initially a return to the jug with its long spout penetrating space, rather like the askew crane. These vessels continue to explore the idea of mutual support of one structure needing the other to survive, while at the same time presenting a precarious balance.

I remember as a student, completing my first major drawing of my parents farm with tank and tank stand, and as I reflect on this current work that drawing comes back to haunt me, the corrugations and the container. The corrugations of the metal and the ripples of the sand as the tide recedes have a similarity, the natural beside the mechanical. The cranes also link the world of nature and archaeology. The use of tackle and pulley devices to salvage what the sea has taken, the vessels which have laid on the ocean floor, undiscovered, covered with the patina of time, encrusted by shells, only to be retrieved as though gifts of the sea.

Linking structure and surface to provide an integration of form and idea remains central within the work. The drawn image, the surface texture and the patina coming together suggesting time and tide.

by Merran Esson 
Exhibition statement from solo exhibition Cranes and Fishes at The Mura Clay Gallery, 19-51 King St, Newtown. NSW. Australia.
© Merran Esson. All rights reserved.