Professor Tick & Company brings together four category-defying artists who have never previously exhibited together. Peter Hawkesby, Cheryl Lucas, Madeleine Child and Richard Stratton are involved in conceptually redefining the medium — that is re-working the ways we understand contemporary ceramics.
The exhibition’s title comes from ‘Professor Tick’, one of the three works by Peter Hawkesby in the exhibition. ‘Professor Tick’ brings together the ‘tick’ and the brick, two of the artist’s signature motifs. The tick dates in Hawkesby’s oeuvre to the 1970s when it emerged as an elegant reprise to the ubiquity of the ‘cross’ in local art. Auckland-based Hawkesby is known for the hand-built non-utilitarian direction he pioneered in the 1970s. In October 2020, Hawkesby will be the first contemporary ceramic artist to exhibit in the main space at Auckland’s new Objectspace gallery.
For Professor Tick, Cheryl Lucas, the latest recipient of the Creative New Zealand Craft Object Fellowship, presents a collection of extraordinary coloured ceramic structures that explore her consummate control of surface texture. Following the Christchurch earthquakes, Lucas contributed to the rebuild of the city by painstakingly hand replicating Victorian chimneys that had been destroyed. Her immersion in this utilitarian Victorian design tradition inspired a different direction, resulting in the pink, yellow, green and white glazed works on exhibition in this exhibition.
Madeleine Child, a former head of ceramics at Otago School of Art, is represented in the exhibition by ‘Neither Fish, Nor Flesh, Nor Good Red Herring’ I, II and III, a group of lusciously articulated ceramic concoctions that recline on a pair of Nineteenth Century New Zealand-made marquetry tables. Child, along with Peter Hawkesby, is included in the Dowse Art Museum’s current exhibition, Dirty Ceramics.
Wellington-based Richard Stratton is nourished by a lifelong fascination with the teapot. His new pair of vases – their form inspired by the two op-shop teapots stacked on top of each other – are the first works he has made that are adorned by ceramic flowers. Stratton’s charcoal poppies, made from his own recipe black basalt clay, are glazed to give a lustrous ‘dipped in oil’ appearance reflecting the fossil-fuel appetites of the subjects of his vases, Donald Trump and ScoMo (otherwise known as Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison).
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