20 July 2013

Stephen Benwell talk at Wollongong Art Gallery

Yesterday I visited the Wollongong Art Gallery. My very patient non-potting husband took me, which was much more comfortable than me driving myself and dodging the coal carrying trucks in my tiny car.

The weather wasn't very pleasant but improved while we were there...

Heading south at the top of the escarpment

trucks must use low gear down Mt Ousley 

I was surprised to see lots of Coral Trees in bloom along the Mt Ousley road. Guess its that time of year though they seem to be flowering early to me.

Missed this exhibition

Wollongong Art Gallery

The Wollongong gallery runs some good exhibitions and has a competition specifically for women artists of the Illawarra area.  They also have an interesting permanent collection of ceramics.

But yesterday's visit was to hear Stephen Benwell speak about his work... in particular the work in this exhibition: Diorama..

he spoke for an hour with slides of his work from the 1970's to this year.

Some of the things he said that I will remember.. "clay likes to be thin - it is more likely to crack when thick"
"ceramics is both painting and sculpture in one". I'm paraphrasing so don't hold me to the quotes.

He is a hand builder and it was so interesting to see slides of his early work, the influences of his trip to Greece and his talk of the changes to the way he works and that his ideas for his work often last for a 10 year period (he started young).  He has worked in earthenware (for colour), stoneware and porcelain at different times.   He readily admits to perusing books for influences as he knows his interpretation will be different to the original.

Stephen Benwell at Diorama exhibition, 19 July 2013. Wollongong Art Gallery

As you can see here, the name of the exhibition reflects the layout of the works...
each artist has a space in the wall to show their interpretation.  Stephen Benwell's exhibit was about antiquity and the shards and broken statues and how they are valued. As the gallery card says, the work draws on the rich tradition of the museum display, cabinets of curiositites and dioramas.

The gallery was crowded and I didn't get to see Penny Byrne's work so I might have to visit again - it runs until 10 November so I have a chance.

Some other well known artists from the ceramics world were there to support Stephen...
Janet De Boos, Michael Keighrey, Stephen Benwell, Lynda Draper and Robyn O'Donoghue

The other exhibits in the gallery were also worth a look -

Gallery 1 was showing "Me, the Road & I" narratives of refugee passage and identity

part of the same exhibit, I thought of my friend Sadhana when I saw this weaving, love the shadow...

After a good look around my chauffeur took me to lunch and then we had a walk along beside the water... it was too cold to linger for long but nice to get some fresh sea air...

there is a coal carrier on the horizon

the lookout below the lighthouse is always popular

a shy little wren is perched on the fence post

he flew off when I tried to get closer...

it was a very enjoyable day and I will be inspired to get back to some hand building as soon as the Empty Bowl Project is done.
Remember to check over on Mud Colony for other potty bloggers or see my further updates on my Facebook page..  Anna's Ceramics.


Unknown said...

Sounds like an interesting show. It's fascinating to see the correlations between artists' work and what has inspired them. I've only seen a few of Benwell's pieces but I'd never have guessed at an ancient Grecian angle!

Anna said...

Hi Georgia
Thanks for dropping by my blog. I would not have guessed either but it makes sense with his little statues in this show