an exhibition of new works by
at Early Work, 9 / 30 South Terrace, (cnr. Wardle Street) South Fremantle
26 September to 7 October 2018
open daily 10am – 4pm
The exhibition is dedicated to Dr Robert Bell AM. 1946-2018,
formerly Curator of Craft and Design at the Art Gallery of Western Australia and Senior Curator of Decorative Arts at the National Gallery of Australia
Sandra Black is one of Australia's foremost ceramic artists, creating porcelain vessels recognised for their craftsmanship and intricately carved and pierced surfaces. Sandra explores the material's character through throwing, hand building and casting techniques, and its ability to transfer light through carving and piercing. She was initially attracted to the translucency and hardness of porcelain, and the fine surface it provided for carving and piercing. The purity of the medium added to its appeal, allowing her to infuse her pieces with a presence that she had not achieved using other clay.
Sandra’s work has a delicate quality, more akin with intricate lace or crochet than ceramic vessels. Its intimate scale enhances this feeling, resulting in work that departs from tradition and prompts a new way of considering the medium.
Sandra began practicing in the mid 1970s, in 1975 taking up a part-time lecturing position at the Western Australian Institute of Technology. Since them she has continued this involvement with art education, lecturing in institutions and workshops throughout Australia, New Zealand, USA and also in Canada . She has been exhibited widely in the context of dealer galleries, selected and curated exhibitions and with public institutions. On several occasions her work was featured in the New Zealand Fletcher Challenge Ceramics Award, winning the award outright in 1988 and receiving a merit award in 1989. She has also undertaken taken residencies overseas, in Canada, India and most recently at “The Pottery workshop” in Jingdezhen, China, famous for its fine porcelain production. Her work is held in major ceramics collections in Australia, Canada New Zealand and Asia.
Sandra writes of the title of the exhibition:
“When I was in China earlier this year I was reflecting on a bowl I was throwing, and was taken back to my time with Joan Campbell in her pottery classes at UWA student guild in the early 1970’s. Back then I was struggling with the centring of the clay and opening up the vessel shape. Joan brought to my attention the interior space and told me that was the most important part of the vessel. The walls were there to enclose and hold that critical space. My focus from then was to be on perfecting that inner space, and the outside would take care of itself in the careful finishing and balance of the exterior. It’s a lesson that’s always remained powerfully instilled in my making.
The second critical space is the positive and negative spacing of decorative elements. To get the balance in the layout of those surface elements takes time, care and inspiration from what the current themes are that I am working on. Each element is carefully placed in balance with the form it is applied to.
The third is my working space where the work is assembled. That necessarily quiet space is mainly in my garden studio in South Fremantle, but has also taken place in the various residencies I have undertaken in other parts of the world. Each of the residencies have allowed me time and a working space to rethink what I am making, to expose myself to different cultures and ways of working in that space, and to play with the clay, freed up from one’s normal daily routine. New ways of working and sources of inspiration have arisen from that time and space I have allowed myself to have.
These are to me three different, but Critical spatial elements that act upon and influence the making of my work. “