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New Zealand Festival Exhibition: Slip Cast

Author: Courtney Johnston, Director
Ceramics are back, but not the classic brown pot.
Erica van Zon, Everett, 2013. Photograph by Hamish McLaren

Erica van Zon, Everett, 2013. Photograph by Hamish McLaren

The new exhibition Slip Cast at The Dowse Art Museum, timed to coincide with the opening of the New Zealand Festival, showcases artists who are using clay with a new freedom, heedless of the traditional art / craft divide.

Slip Cast follows on from The Dowse's acclaimed 2013 survey of potter Barry Brickell, His Own Steam: A Barry Brickell Survey. The new exhibition highlights the breadth of ways artists and potters around New Zealand use clay in their works. Curator Emma Bugden says:

"The title of the show, Slip Cast, refers to a technique for the mass production of pottery, but is used here to indicate the breadth of the exhibition's scope, slipping between forms and genres.

Although some of the pieces could be used in functional ways, as lanterns or vases or bird baths, there are no pottery mugs on display in this show. Instead the focus is on clay's capacity to morph into sculpture, from small figurative pieces to large-scale installations."

Twenty-five potters and artists are included in Slip Cast, which features a mixture of recent acquisitions by The Dowse (including pieces by Francis Upritchard, Kate Newby and Kate Fitzharris), and new work from artists throughout the country, mixed with iconic pieces selected from The Dowse's extensive ceramics collection.

Highlights include Bruce Denhert's dramatic and romantic installation of hundreds of red roses, Madeline Child's colourful oversized popcorn pieces, Cheryl Lucas's collapsed jugs and replica traffic cones that reflect on a "munted" Christchurch cityscape, and 2012 Walters Prize winner Kate Newby's dreamy yellow ceramic windchimes.

Slip Cast artists: Tony Bond, Madeline Child, Paerau Corneal and Louise Potiki Bryant, Jim Cooper, Bruce Denhert, Mel Ford, Kate Fitzharris, Lee Houlihan, Tessa Laird, Cheryl Lucas, Paul Maseyk, Kate Newby, Richard Orjis, Suji Park, John Paxie, Robert Rapson, John Roy, Rick Rudd, Richard Stratton, Isobel Thom, Francis Upritchard, Adam Willets, Lauren Winstone, Erica van Zon.

Mel Ford, Robert Rapson and Rick Rudd are also exhibiting work in the concurrent Shapeshifter exhibition of outdoor art, organsied by the Rotary Club of Hutt City and opening at the Lower Hutt Civic Gardens on 22 February.

www.shapeshifter.org.nz