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Selected works by Kirsten Coelho


"Recently my ceramics practice has been focussed on the exploration and reinterpretation of nineteenth and early twentieth century enamel wares and ceramics produced for a domestic market in 19th century Australia. Through an investigation of these objects I am searching for a new visual meaning so as to view the historical through context of the contemporary object.

In the circuitous history of objects, enamelwares were made and purchased often to replace fine china in working class households, with some pieces having the form and surface decorations resembling the patterns of English and Chinese bone china tea sets. To reconstruct some of these objects in clay is to create a cycle whereby the ceramic object now attempts to emulate the metal object. The work also endeavours to convey some of the domestic history of the enamelwares by highlighting the potential abstractions that arise on the surface through the use and subsequent deterioration of these objects.

Other reference points for much of my work are the unlikely abstractions found in the weathering of iron in the urban landscape…the rust around a car window and the rivulets of iron on factory chimneys for example

I am also exploring the convergence of object and surface – the merging of the formal and the abstract. This is pursued through a drive to refine and interpret form and through the manipulation of high fired glazes on the ceramic surface. Glaze can potentially offer up a surface rich in visual metaphor and through the layering of glazes I attempt to give greater sense of visual depth and tone.

Porcelain poses many difficulties and challenges to the user yet yields seductive properties - translucency, malleability, density and the ability to give great visual underpinning to subtle glaze colours. These characteristic qualities make it an extremely compelling material to attempt to understand and to potentially realise some of its elusive possibilities.

All pieces are wheel thrown and gas reduction fired to 1280 Celsius."

Kirsten's work is available in the UK through Adrian Sassoon, USA - Matin Gallery and Australia - Helen Gory Galerie.


Words: Courtesy of Kirsten Coelho
Photos: Daniel Noone and Grant Hancock

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