One of the earliest forms of creative expression, ceramics continues to demand attention in contemporary times. Dynasty presents artists using the elasticity of ceramics, at times combined with other materials, to engage in artifice, reconstructions, and model-making.
Lauren Winstone’s series Dynasty is based on collections of Eastern ceramics from museums in Australia and New Zealand. Winstone draws on the long history of the West’s obsession with the East, which she describes as: “our sense of longing for the exotic”. Tessa Laird also casts an anthropological eye, using the history of ceramics to offer compelling connections between seemingly disparate countries and cultures in The origin of table manners.
Laird’s other work on display is made in collaboration with the artist Erica van Zon. The dinner party two thousand and six pays affectionate tribute to the feminist sculptural installation The Dinner Party (1974 – 1979) by Judy Chicago (a seminal work also referred to in Judy Darragh’s exhibition Arts Society, on show in the Iris Fisher Gallery). In an art historical collusion, the furniture is hand-crafted by van Zon based on designs by the minimalist artist Donald Judd.
Somewhat larger than life, Onlie Ong’s witty culinary recreations—bananas, soup, dumplings—again refer to the act of eating, with food as a metaphor for the balancing act of cultural migration. His series Banana story uses the banana as a humourous symbol of the Asian migrant assimilating into western culture, as Ong says: “yellow on the outside, white on the inside”. Scale has shrunk into miniature in Adam Willetts’ dioramas, creating models which look like science fiction done the DIY way. Willetts’ fantastical environments and creatures contain a deliberately child-like element to their simple construction, enhanced by his use of playful titles such as Fleshteroid Spores.