Wellington artist Oliver Morse's work is on show at Rick Rudd's Quartz Museum of Studio Ceramics in Whanganui, one year after he won the inaugural Emerging Practitioner in Clay Award.
Rudd, along with fellow judges Paul Rayner and Tom Seaman, knew they were on to a winner when they selected Morse's work House of Dee for the Rick Rudd Foundation award.
"I established the award to give emerging artists a good start and I could see that Oliver was a very interesting clay artist," Rudd said.
"His work epitomised what the award is about."
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The world-renowned Whanganui potter said it was significant that the prize went to someone who was born in the same year that he received his own first pottery prize.
Rudd received the Fletcher Brownbuilt Pottery Award in 1978 and remembers how it encouraged him during that early stage of his ascendancy.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, also the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, made the announcement of Morse's win via video link.
"I would like to acknowledge the foundation's foresight in establishing this award to support those emerging artists in an art form that has a long tradition in this country," Ardern said.
Morse has spent the past year building up a body of work and has been finishing his pieces at the Glasgow St Arts Centre in Whanganui where he was the most recent resident artist.
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"The $10,000 prize money has been an amazing boost for me," Morse said.
"It enabled me to build my studio and buy a good kiln and I have really enjoyed developing my work with clay."
It also gave him confidence to hold his first solo exhibition at Kina NZ Design + Artspace in his hometown of New Plymouth earlier this year.
Morse was new to the medium when he created his winning work and had previously painted on secondhand plates.
"I was told that I should start making my own pieces and I joined the Wellington Potters Association but I still haven't got around to making plates."
Instead, he has built large slab pieces in square and cylindrical shapes which he paints with figures and texts and some have three-dimensional figures and water tower-like structures attached.
"People told me that they looked like lamp bases so I started making shades for them.
"I investigated how to do that and found the materials I needed."
Some of the works on show in his Surrounded by Sigils exhibition at the Quartz Museum feature his embroidered shades which have designs that correspond with the paintings on the bases.
They are fascinating images inspired by Morse's childhood memories and some slightly disturbing characters incorporated with images lifted from old family photographs.
The artist is also a theatre set designer which may explain his ability to combine dimensions so effectively.
The thick, solid clay structures provide perfect canvasses for the fine lines and subtle colours of his paintings.
"I have really enjoyed being able to live and work in Whanganui during these past weeks," Morse said.
"It gives me a huge sense of satisfaction to come back one year on and exhibit here."
Oliver Morse solo exhibition Surrounded By Sigils: Quartz Museum of Studio Ceramics, 8 Bates St, Whanganui. Open 10.30am to 4pm, Tuesday to Sunday.