Monday, August 23, 2010
I am a finalist in the Gold Coast Ceramic Art Awards. Judged by ceramicist Stephen Benwell. this years exhibition is amazing (if I do say so myself!) . Stephen talked about the two categories that he could describe in the exhibition of finalists as "Quiet Beauty" and "Wild Beauty". All this talk of beauty is inspiring in the the often cynical, bureaucratic world of artspeak. The entries all contained a certain lyricism, an emphasis on concept that is sometimes neglected in the ceramics world of materials and process. This made a really interesting show, the viewer was constantly confronted with the bizarre, or whimsical, or crazy but the thread running through this was the IDEA. This has been deeply unfashionable in ceramic circles and of course the idea of beauty is viewed with suspicion at best and derision at worst in "high" art circles, as a result this show was a refreshing change.
The winner was Peter Cooley's "Tree with Busted Guts and Galahs".
Cooley is a fascinating mid- career artist who oeuvre includes carpet design, paintings and ceramics. His work is definitely in the category of "Wild Beauty" This piece references kitsch and the "busted guts" form includes two "handles" however the sculpture transcends these associations on closer examination. There is a sense of companionship and community in the way the galahs interact, from every angle they are inclining towards one another. Concurrent with this is the sense of imminent ,creative explosion, the colours are vibrant and beautiful and the busted guts of the tree function as a metaphor for the roiling crazy creativity of the artist.
Peter Cooley is represented by Ray Hughes Gallery in Sydney.