Gemma Gale

Still, 2021

60 cm
The ceramic work "Still" is inspired by the images of Australian artist John Coburn, the pared down shapes and vivid coloured arrangements reminiscent to me of Matisse's cutouts. But beyond that they also relate to my Catholic upbringing. Even before researching Coburn's artwork and influences, the recurring abstract images reminded me of chalices ,communion and palms so much a part of my early childhood. Equally juxtaposed against strong references to our natural landscape, the organic shapes seem to "fit" together artfully designed in often symmetric compositions belying christian art and architecture. Starting from the chalice type shape in white raku clay, I wondered how my three dimensional versions would relate to each other. Keeping the long pedestals various natural vessels emerged ,rarely planned and cut directly from clay slabs. As I built more they naturally grouped together in continuous possibilities of arrangements where ,unlike Coburn, perspective, depth and overlap became important elements. The pale colours and lightly textured surfaces an exploration in clay slips and the illusion of mist on a still view. As with all abstract art , interpretation lies in the viewers own aesthetic and experience. To me, the vessels have become the first bloom of a flower, the squawking beak of a young bird waiting to be fed, a canoe on a very still lake, a sapling just starting to grow and a cup to capture dew on a new morning. Each piece's interior is glazed and so can be used as a vase on its own ,but the real delight is in working and reworking the arrangement. All pieces fit within the 60cm allowance when grouped and can be sold as one piece.
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