Preview

Having taken a quiet back seat for more than a few years, ceramic art is experiencing a welcome resurgence.

Gathering together the varied breadth of national and international ceramics, two Australian awards are positioned at the forefront of current practice.

No stranger to the appeal of the medium, the annual Gold Coast International Ceramic Art Award has been in existence for 30 years.

For 2016, former Museum of Contemporary Art curator Glenn Barkley took up the judge’s helm. He states in his catalogue essay that his response to the 52 selected works was “visceral and tactile”. This is clearly reflected in Eloise Rankine’s pair of white textured vessels; the detailed patterns on Penny Evans’s Seven Sisters Morning Bowl, 2015; and the totemic figures in Stephen Bird’s Man from Korea, 2015.

Further south, in Victoria, the fifth instalment of Shepparton Art Museum’s biennial Indigenous Ceramic Art Award is also underway. A key element to this award was the opportunity for short-listed entrants to fund and create a substantial body of new work specifically for the exhibition.

Curated by Joanna Bosse, the 2016 ICAA includes seven finalists. Among this year’s standout projects are the works of the Ernabella Women Potters of the Pukatja Community and Yorta Yorta artists Cynthia Hardie and Jack Anselmi.

For their first collaborative project, Hardie and Anselmi have created a large-scale installation honouring the site of an Aboriginal midden once located by the river in Mooroopna. The remnants of mussels, water plants and fish are carefully crafted in white porcelain, calling forth what was once lost into a new kind of enduring existence.

Like the malleable and unpredictable nature of the medium itself, the field of contemporary ceramics revels in possibility and innovation. The short-listed works of both awards are fine examples that continue to provide fertile ground for the exchange of new ideas and techniques.

Winners announced: Yorta Yorta artists Jack Anselmi and Cynthia Hardie have won the 2016 Indigenous Ceramic Art Award with their installation, Midden. For more information, read our news piece here.

2016 Indigenous Ceramic Art Award
Shepparton Art Museum
6 August – 25 September

30th Gold Coast International Ceramic Art Award
Gold Coast City Gallery
27 August – 23 October

Briony Downes