Monday, July 27, 2009

At the Triennale

The dynamic West Australian artist Fleur Schell was at the Triennale spreading the word about SODA, the privately run clay working center with residency that she and her partner founded on the shore of the Indian Ocean in Fremantle, Western Australia. The SODA Residency includes a self contained unit, access to workshops and galleries in the SODA precinct and exposure to the lively and talented Western Australian artistic community. You can find out more on Fleur's website
Fleur Schell has been a prolific artist since graduating from Curtin University in Western Australia with a Degree in Visual Art. Her oeuvre encompasses a series of sculptural work inspired by her daughter Heidi, functional ware, and doorbells and sound objects. She says....
"Using porcelain I love to make sentimental objects that are rich in detail, playful and familiar.

The common thread throughout my work is a connection to my own personal history. Having grown up with my mother who is a piano teacher, our home was filled with wonderful music. In 1997, with a fascination of musical instruments of all kinds I felt compelled to make a series of sound instruments. Using combinations of porcelain, metal, wood and found components these instruments explored the possibilities of sound through ceramic media in a way that encourages audience interaction on an audio, tactile and visual level. The principal aim was to create cast ceramic forms that were capable of generating sound, and which, through their aesthetic and textural quality, invited an intimate tactile response. "

Takeshi Yasuda's throwing demonstration drew audiences (and panel members) from all over the conference.

I was interested to note that the theme that emerged from this conference was the ethics of making within the globalized economy. With so many Australian potters visiting Jingdezhen we are faced with an ethical dilemma about using the skills and resources of other, cheaper countries to fulfill our creative vision. This issue emerged in several of the panel discussions and was addressed by many of the keynote speakers.

Janet de Boos, Bruce Mc Whinney, Virginia Scotchie, Shannon Garson, Elaine O Henry, Kim Dickey and Marek Cecula on the education panel chaired by Owen Rye. (photos coutesy of Renee Ferguson)
This is me trying to look intellectual on a panel about education! I was a bit intimidated by the heavy hitters sitting on either side of me but the panel was interesting and the panel members are innovative and exciting in thier approach to contemporary education.

Alan Peascod, drawings and bottle at the National Art School Gallery

The intellectual presentations at the Triennale were thought-provoking and (sometimes!) fascinating but one of the really valuable things we get from conferences is the opportunity to hear artists speaking honestly and directly from the heart about what they do and why. Geoff Crispin's talk about the hidden supporters of both his career and ceramics generally was one such talk.

The art world involves a lot of front and often our eyes are directed only to the successes, the prizes and the resolved final works. To see the process that a mature artist has undertaken emotionally ,physically and creatively is invaluable. While it is essential for us as artists to have the public persona when engaging with the world of commerce it is really important, especially to emerging artists to see a rounded picture of a creative life.

The tender and beautiful drawing on the interior of Merran Esson's piece.
And the last word....

must go to Takeshi who talked about the power of language and made the point that by using the language of the visual arts ceramicists are doing themselves a disservice. Takeshi posited that we need a new language to express the peculiar mix of the tactile, psycological, political and visual that ceramics encompasses he said "When you think about design you have to forget about old languages....We have to develop our OWN language"

The next Australian Ceramics Triennale will be held in Adelaide in three years time.


Michael Kline said...

Love that Alan Peacock(?) bottle and drawings. Thanks for the report!!

Jay Dee said...

Great observations on the Triennale, Shannon! Thank you for sharing - and I agree with Takeshi about relying too heavily on the visual arts dialect for expression. This is true of many disciplines at the moment, not just ceramicists.

Janet K @ Manly Gallery said...

Fascinating thanks Shannon, really enjoyed this blog entry and seeing things from your point of view as well. The work is amazing, it would have been a wonderful experience. Love your pieces selected for my gallery - plenty of comment - all good of course....J