Review: Clay given vivid expression

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New Zealand National Pottery Exhibition is on at Havelock North Convention Centre.
New Zealand National Pottery Exhibition is on at Havelock North Convention Centre.

New Zealand National Pottery Exhibition
Havelock North Convention Centre
Until July 30
Review: by Toni MacKinnon,
Director, Hastings City Art Gallery who was the selector and judge for the exhibition

It is wonderful to see renewed focus on ceramics in the past five or so years. Each of the artists selected for the New Zealand National Pottery Exhibition 2016 are included because they should be seen and considered in the context of what is happening in ceramics or sculptural arts at the moment.

The exhibition opened in conjunction with the "Hands On Hawke's Bay" potters conference. It is important to reflect that in a group show of this kind, that the works in the exhibition are representative of an established artist's entire body of work or of an emergent artist.

Either way the New Zealand Potters exhibition is a celebration of the bravery of those who give big space to their ideas by sharing them.

New Zealand Potters Premier Award winner Rick Rudd presents exceptional pieces.

His teapots have a sculptural intelligence that belie their functionality. They show playful exploration and understanding of form in incorporating negative space within their object.

The finesse in their finishing demonstrates elegant shifts between matte and sheen, these works have a high level of resolve.

Tremain's Excellence Award winner Maureen Allison submitted two pieces titled Suspension I and II.

Relatively simple vase forms, the works reference a complex history descending from antiquity as much as they do from our own cultural place.

These darkened amphorae seem to be retrieved from a millennium or two ago and the strange and seemingly clumsy attachments create a delightfully awkward aesthetic.

As if they have been constructed from ponga logs, or corrugated iron, these extraordinary earthenware pieces appear to be growing out of the earth with their determined but soft upward motion.

Their wonderful waxen surface combines to give them an exceptionally New Zealand feel.

Helen Yau, winner of the Bot Pots Merit Award, presented puzzling and enigmatic work.

Over glazed and truly weird, these humorous pieces seem to make a cacophony of sound.

Perhaps its is the upward motion of the group and the way they seem to vie to be heard.

Many other works deserve acknowledgement and artists such as the outstanding Annette Bull with her vessel series is one such artist. Janet Shearer with a post-feminist collection of womanly forms that seem to stand ready for duty, another.

Guest artist Hanna Bayer was a wonderful addition with her extraordinarily delicate works, rounding off a "must see" exhibition.

- Northern Advocate

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