Mudlark: Bronwynne Cornish at The Dowse

Author: Katrina Smit, Communication & Relationships Manager

In 1986, James Mack, the then director of The Dowse Art Museum, described Bronwynne Cornish’s installation Home is where the heart is as ‘one of the most important ceramic statements ever made in New Zealand’. It is fitting then, that this significant work (from The Dowse collection) should be the centrepiece of Mudlark: Bronwynne Cornish, Ceramics 1982–2013, a major survey of the artist’s work that will show at The Dowse from 11 Apr – 02 Aug 2015.


Bronwynne Cornish. Photographer, Mark Tantrum

Bronwynne Cornish. Photographer, Mark Tantrum

The exhibitionfeatures sixty-nine works spanning over three decades of making, drawn from private and public collections around New Zealand. Temples, cats, birds and sphinxes will be mounted in a totally immersive gallery space where people can create their own mythologies.


Current Dowse director Courtney Johnston says Bronwynne Cornish’s work has continued to capture the imagination of audiences with her mythical creatures that are both other-worldly and comfortingly domestic. “We are very excited to be showing this major survey of Bronwynne’s work. Although she has lived in Auckland for many years, Lower Hutt is where Bronwynne was born and spent her formative years as the au pair for James and Jemi Coe. Wellington was where she was introduced to working with clay by the late Helen Mason. The Dowse is an obvious choice to show this wonderful exhibition celebrating Bronwynne Cornish’s prolific career”.


Bronwynne has had a long relationship with The Dowse ‒ Mudlark is the third solo exhibition of the artist’s work to be staged at the museum. Visitors will experience the breadth of Bronwynne’s work through the many collectors and institutions that have lent works for Mudlark. Bronwynne says of the survey of her work “It is great to see the works altogether again. They have their own lives”.


*A 'mudlark' is a late eighteenth and early nineteenth century term for someone who scavenges in river mud for items of value. Mudlarks were known for searching the muddy shores of the River Thames during low tide, scavenging for anything that could be resold.

Mudlark: Bronwynne Cornish, Ceramics 1982–2013

11 Apr – 02 Aug 2015


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