21 November 2017
A ceramic work simultaneously robust and fragile is the major winner of the 2017 Waiclay National Ceramics Awards held at Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato.
Whangamata potter Maureen Allison won the $2,000 Premier Award for her wood-fired work Aftermath.
The judge, Australian ceramic artist, writer and educator Rowley Drysdale, says Aftermath evokes lingering intrigue.
“What spoke to me initially was that from a distance it has a robustness, but on closer inspection there is a fragility. Secondly, the piece has a real ambiguity because it looks on one hand totally from the natural world, then in some other form it references the industrial.
“Most of it all, it mystified me. You could spend a lot of time looking at it and still not see it all.”
Second place went to Genetics Teapot Set by Jinho Jeong, of Auckland. “It’s a technical virtuoso piece that works as a sculpture, but it also works as a tea set,” says Mr Drysdale. “It’s underscored by a really tight aesthetic and I’ll bet you it pours beautifully.”
The $750 prize for the best work by a Waikato potter went to Taupoo’s DeAnne Lawford-Smith for Small Stories.
“[The work] uses an old technique called sgraffito to record a personal insight into domestic and cultural scenarios,” says Mr Drysdale. “It’s a glimpse into contemporary life with a real historical connection. Very understated and humble.”
Merit awards also went to Wellington’s Nicola Dench, North Shore’s Peter Collis, and Aucklander Kate McLean.
Waikato Museum Director Cherie Meecham says the award winners reflect the diversity of New Zealand ceramics.
“The works in this year’s exhibition are amazing and are a credit to the artists and judge Rowley Drysdale who selected the finalists,” says Ms Meecham.
All 59 finalist works form the Waiclay 2017 exhibition on now until 18 February 2018 at Waikato Museum, open daily 10am – 5pm. Free entry. All works are for sale.
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