A very good article from Gina Fairley. Great to see the current popularity of ceramics extends to Australia, particularly so as I look forward to an overdue return home in the next month. The note from the curator of the upcoming exhibition at the NAS, speaks volumes about ceramics, in that it does tend to have half an eye on the past, but then I wonder if that can be said of other media also, textiles definitely, print and papermaking certainly and increasingly so painting. Then of course, looking into the past, what article on the subject, could not note the spectre of the art/craft debate that dogs this medium.
The author returns to this in the most valuable section of this coverage, toward the end of the article. And it's an issue that irks me a little. There is a simple reason for putting away the best vase, jug, or platter that sits in the middle of the dining room table — breakage. Yet in another way this damages the item more than a small chip or hairline crack. As the article briefly notes, ceramics need to be intimate— I write this as I scoop up the remainder of my breakfast yoghurt from a small brown bowl, with an interior celadonish crackle glaze, bought from the local mega mart. Digression aside, the non use of ceramics and denial of their utilitarian function works to lift them into the sphere of the decorative object d'art and away from the world of craft, much in the way the glass cages do at galleries and museum, but then the environment of preciousness has been set already and the dining room is not a museum. The appreciation of many ceramic works, like textile art, is incomplete without tactile engagement and an understanding of function. A jug may appear quite exquisite in its sculptural form, decorative glaze and texture, but can it pour water, beer or wine and how well does it do it? How does it feel in the hand. Ah but that type of engagement, might be seen as dragging the work bag into the domain of craft. I wonder is a vase a vase without a flower decoration, is a platter a platter without food on it, or are they simply sculptural forms and, or canvasses for decorative effect.