One of the perpetual delights of art is its ability to be simultaneously beautiful and unsettling. Ceramicist Juz Kitson’s work sits within this dichotomy; the artist’s pieces straddle the territory between poetic and grotesque. Kitson’s latest exhibition, Shifting Manifestations at GAGPROJECTS, extends her ongoing exploration into both elegance and abjection.
Shifting Manifestations showcases Kitson’s crafted organic forms that resemble unidentifiable ‘beings.’ The show is a collection of hybrid specimens that blend the body, human and animal, with the artist drawing upon light pastels and dark hues to craft her artificial organisms. Created by fusing various materials together (porcelain, glass, textiles, bones, antlers, husks, vertebrae, fur, emu eggs and hides), Kitson’s work appeals to both the natural and alien.
Indeed the artist’s understanding of her work is as poetic as the sculptures she creates. Kitson describes her pieces in Shifting Manifestations as “soft, tender, and inviting, luscious and satisfying, warm and comforting yet possibly dangerously threatening, they are something monstrous, abnormal and obscene yet oddly beautiful… classical in symmetry and strength, and powerful without words, these sublimated ‘beings’ exist on their own terms.”
Kitson, who now splits her time between Sydney and the Chinese city of Jingdezhen (the world-renowned porcelain capital), often imbues her work with mystique and a surrealist sensibility. Yet, even more pivotally, her work is suggestive of the disquieting nature of desire, life, sex and death. Just as Kitson’s sculptures appear uncertain in their very form, they also blur the barriers between living and decaying.