Blurring the lines with Angus Gardner

At Angus Gardner’s Brunswick studio in Melbourne, the ceramics kiln shares space with materials for painting and drawing. For Gardner, clear lines between the three practices blur. His new body of work emphasises this: the fired and partly glazed ceramic sculptures are also paintings, with the various components having a sketch-like quality.

Gardner has long been interested in transitional zones and when he’s deep in working, he says he flows between mediums without distinction. With eight sculptures and eight paintings at Gallery 9, he explores relationships between two and three dimensions. “For me, it is a loop,” says Gardner. “In the past, the relationship has been a little bit linear, looking for elements in the paintings—forms, colours and relationships to texture—and trying to bring them out and create sculptures from them. But I think with this body of work I see the sculptures as paintings in themselves, which is a shift in my thinking.”

Angus Gardner, Landscape Painting 8, 2023, Glazed Earthenware, 45cm x 42cm x 13cm.

The ceramic sculptures—necessarily limited in size by the kiln’s dimensions— reference paintings in that they are rectangular boxes with flat(ish) surfaces. Gardner began oil painting about two years ago and has recently moved some of those new techniques over to clay. Ceramics allow differences between matte and gloss surfaces in zones that are glazed or left natural—and the extruded clay piping around some sculptures references both frames and coiling techniques. As for the landscape-oriented subject matter, Gardner says there are references to Manly and its coast, where he lived before Melbourne, and time spent in the Northern Territory. “That [NT] environment was wild… those great expanses. Psychologically, they are enormous to comprehend.”

Landscape paintings
Angus Gardner
Gallery 9
16 August—9 September

This article was originally published in the July/August 2023 print edition of Art Guide Australia.

Preview Words by Andrew Stephens