Friday, 28 May 2010

Deep in the woods, yeah. (Wedd.g.would@Minton)

Minton was one of the first English Potteries to embrace the wacky Chinoiserie of the Willow Pattern. What curious happenstance then that there are some Willow -related works in amongst the other figurines I am showing in an exhibition at Damien Minton's Gallery which opens on June 16.
'Moon -faced girl' in woods

Hungry Dog

Bogan with 'moon-faced women ' tourists

Gothic Tableau

Tree Kangaroo

Tree Kangaroo (detail)

Burning Roo

Sick Tree

Hungry Dog

Hiding dog

Dead Tree

These are images of or related to the show at Damien Minton Gallery which runs from June 16 until July 3. Over the past few years my work has incorporated figurines and small sculptures that were arranged in narrative tableau configurations. This work was informed by ceramic dessert figurines made by artists such as Bustelli , a porcelain modeller from the 18th century. These figurines were literally conversation pieces, which were brought out during dessert. The dessert tableau was made up of a number of figurines, which collectively conveyed a narrative of some sort. Our relationship with the figurines is complex; on one level you are drawn into the interior world of the miniature, yet on another level you are in control in a scenario where the figurines assume the characteristics of the toy.

This work is also influenced by Staffordshire figurines, particularly those made to commemorate particular events or individuals. The figurines were knick-knacks that were sold at fairs and often commemorated events such as famous murders. The miniature and the figurine both skirt the area of kitsch. A great deal of the historical ceramic work I am referencing could be defined as kitsch.

This tableau operates as a kind of allegory, which was a common characteristic of tableaux in the past. The work also draws from the idea of an ‘Australian Gothic’, where the outback and its inhabitant creatures stand in for the ‘other’. From as early as first settlement, Australia has been regarded as both a bountiful utopia and a hellish place where nature seemed uncannily strange or hostile. Pop-cultural references such as the film ’Wake in Fright’ and the Triffid’s song ‘Lonely Stretch’ were uppermost in my mind whilst devising and making these pieces.

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