Obsessive Surface – Hidden Boundaries

Obsessive Surface – Hidden Boundaries

Presented at the Fourth ASNA Ceramics Triennial. Karachi Pakistan. January 2013

Thinking about language while I sit here at my computer to prepare a paper in English, to be delivered at a conference in Pakistan, is a daunting task.

The title refers to my interest in how the surface of my work explores the rich terrain of my Australian landscape. A landscape that is both harsh and dry, but also wet and green in the mountains that run from the top of Queensland down to the Snowy Mountains in Victoria. Many artists explore the land and certainly it is something quite prevalent in the work of artists that work with clay.

Hidden boundaries really explores the language of art, and the boundaries that we are constantly crossing over through crafting work out of clay, sometimes for functional / domestic and daily use, but also challenging notions of sculpture by presenting our ideas to a much more exposed audience.

Coming to Pakistan is a very humbling experience for an Australian ceramic artist, as Pakistan culture has such a long history of ceramics and a very strong tradition in pot making. I am just a beginner by comparison. So to explore the language of ceramics in Australia I am really exploring the language of ceramics throughout the world and trying to pick and choose which parts of that language suit me. There is no long history or tradition in Australian ceramics. Ceramic objects were introduced into Australia, initially from Europe, then from Asia; and as we settle into the 21st century we gather our influences from everywhere. I think tradition is a good asset to have. It means that there is a path to follow and a necessity to pass down to the next generation the skills and knowledge gained and to make sure that this is not lost. It may also mean that to continue to work in such a tradition is honourable work and should never be dismissed.

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