From Sharne Wolff…
One of the more interesting aspects to the ceramic work of artist Gwyn Hanssen Pigott is that it’s just as likely to be seen in the glossy pages of a current Vogue Living as in a Museum celebrating it’s link to 10th century Chinese ceramics. Between 960 and 1279 the Song Dynasty ruled in China. It was during this period that emphasis was placed less on decoration and more on form. Unity of shape, technique, glaze and firing process as well as the theory of aesthetics all began to take precedence. A deep concern with each and all of these facets is evident in Hanssen Pigott’s minimalist style.
Hanssen Pigott was born in 1935 in Ballarat and has spent many years honing her skills both in Australia and overseas. Although she has been producing work since the 50s, it was in the 1980s, and almost by accident, that Pigott began to construct her ceramic assemblages. For this show the artist has fashioned more than thirty still life arrangements from her hand-made porcelain pieces. In several larger works she’s composed a ‘caravan’ of objects. The juxtaposition of bowls, bottles and vessels placed together produces a unique aesthetic and has the effect of allowing each piece to ‘speak’ to the other while adopting human-like qualities.
Different varieties of porcelain are used to portray virtues of strength or vulnerability. Apart from one or two examples of rich wood fired purples and browns, glazes are generally muted in shades of cream and ivory alongside soft yellows, blues and greens. In a world so concerned with mass production and consumption, the refreshing simplicity of the hand-made provides a welcome antidote.
Until November 10
Rex Irwin Gallery, Paddington.
Pic: Gwyn Hanssen Pigott, Still life with five bottles 2011, Translucent porcelain 6 pieces (5 bottles, bowl) Width 56cm, depth 15cm, height 28.5cm. Courtesy the artist and Rex Irwin.