Holly Macdonald, About Place II (Arches), 2016, porcelain, stained slip, glaze, iron oxide, ceramic pencil, H 7 x D 25.5cm
Sabbia Gallery is pleased to present this lovely ceramic exhibition from the NAS 2014 Sabbia Gallery Award Recipient, Holly Macdonald.
This body of work began to take shape on a 6-month journey through the west of the United States last year. The trip’s itinerary zigzagged and circled its way from beaches to mountains, through deserts and cities, to the shores of countless lakes and quaint coastal towns. Repetition rendered the foreign familiar, and at that point, when the eye stopped seeing and the mind’s eye took over with approximation, the sense of that place became firmly embedded in the artist’s mind.
This show delves into Holly’s ongoing concern with the uncertain nature of perception. Here, the artist combines free-hand drawing and hand building in clay to capture vivid but naturally fading impressions of a foreign landscape. The artist approaches the ceramic object as a drawing surface using the vessel-form to hold this abstracted imagery.
The vessels take geographical features as their point of departure. In doing so, they are coiled and pinched into forms that reflect curious and sometimes critical observations of place and culture in the western states of America. However, inner city Sydney, where these works were developed, has also seeped in. Everything is related. Nothing is distinct. Each vessel seeks to become a souvenir of a place that exists beyond its physical limits. This sense of place has no beginning, no end and no opposites. It is the sum of many places. It is porous and impermanent. It bewilders and inspires.
The desire in making this body of work was to bridge the gap between inspiring moments in a distant and foreign landscape and the present moment. I was compelled by the feeling that through building these memories into drawn ceramic forms I was preserving a remarkable experience … and so allaying my fears of dissolving or fading memories.
Holly completed her BFA (Ceramics) at the National Art School Sydney in 2014, and was awarded the Sabbia Gallery Exhibition Prize and the Mansfield Ceramic Prize.
Since graduating she has participated in a number of group exhibitions including in 2015 the Chippendale New World Art Prize (NG Gallery), Turn Turn Turn: The Studio Ceramics Tradition at the National Art School and Riviera (Saint Cloche). In 2016 Permanent Vacation (ALASKA Projects [William St]) and North Queensland Biennial Ceramic Award (Pinnacles Gallery). This year she has also been featured by one of Australia’s foremost design blogs The Design Files and The Ladies Network.