New ceramic work by Janet Green, Fran Maguire and Sara Schotanus Three individual exhibitions in one gallery. Ceramic artists Janet Green, Fran Maguire and Sara Schotanus have worked for more than two years to plan this shared exhibition. Each artist has developed a stunning new body of work that will be presented as individual displays within one space.
This series of work evolved out of the death of a cat who had shared my life for 16 years. I missed her presence, always a pair of eyes watching, an inexplicable connection with a small being living in a fur coat! After her departure I was reluctant to have another animal so decided to make myself a three dimensional representation to replace the presence that I was missing. From this idea a menagerie of Comfort Creatures was born. One led to another until I was eventually surrounded by them. Hybrid, mysterious creatures evolved.
For centuries representations of animals have been made in a variety of materials, from temple guardians to the beasts of ancient Egypt. Animals have a special place in our lives. A whole mythology and symbolism surrounds them in all cultures. This work is a glimpse into that world, possibly the first step on a journey.
I have been involved with archaeological ceramics and glass for most of my adult life, working in various museums throughout the world and on archeological sites in Cyprus and South Eastern Turkey. This work has instilled in me a deep respect for the ancient world and the artifacts it produced. I have developed matt glazes that suggest an ambiguity of material and an aged quality that could be from another time.
In the last 10 years Janet Green has held seven solo exhibitions and participated in over sixty group exhibitions. She has been the recipient of seven major awards, including two from Creative New Zealand for New Work, culminating in her exhibitions "Imaginary Friends" at Objectspace, Auckland, and "Ode on a Grecian Urn" at Aratoi, Masterton. Janet is based in the Wairarapa.
I envisaged an exhibition to run alongside Mirek's, with work in total contrast to his saltglazed domesticware. We envisioned domesticware in the more modern sense, of relating to function rather than being strictly functional, with a strong handbuilt element and a feminine palette of colours. The work would also be sculptural and conceptual: ware for the domestic interior.
I have hugely enjoyed working on these 20 or so pieces over the last two years. Alternative titles for my section of the show might have been ‘A Family Saga' or ‘Inheritance'. On one level I have been coming to terms with the loss of my family, history, country, and youth. On another, I have been able to indulge my interest in certain methods of building and decorating techniques. I love the idea that domesticware is somehow unthreatening - you can pick it up, use it, it is not ‘art', but can represent family life itself.
Sara Schotanus was born in England and grew up surrounded by the craftsmen potters of Cornwall and the artefacts and decorating style of her 1951- Exhibition-inspired parents. She then embarked on a Ceramics degree from Central School of Art in London, where emphasis was placed on creativity and craftsmanship. The next twenty years were spent running her own studio, teaching, working for a firm of architects, and gilding picture frames. Now she enjoys living on a rural lifestyle block in Picton, where she experiments with new materials and techniques, as well as rediscovering the old ones, and pursuing her own style. She is No. 21 on the Marlborough Art and Craft Trail, Essons Valley Art & Craft.
For several years an idea has been culminating in my mind ... something I wanted to explore and see in object. I worked out how I would start making these pieces and made my way to the workshop. My hand was on the workshop door handle when a completely different idea flashed into my mind. This is the work which is now on the walls.
I can't say I understand it yet, but the things I have been thinking about in my peripherals are brain impulses; life impulses, life cycles, expanding and shrinking, biological matter and its energy spark; populations of whatever scale from microcosmic cells to macrocosmic universes - their individual activity and overall liveliness en mass.
Fran is a Marlborough-based artist whose work has featured in two solo exhibitions at the Millennium Art Gallery, A Domestic Decade in 2006, and Morphing in 2009, which marked a turning point in her career from an almost exclusive focus on domestic ware to sculptural works. Fran has been the recipient of several awards and participated in major national exhibitions. She has worked as a full-time potter since 1995.