Monday, 11 July 2016

Standing at Water's Edge

Stewart Scambler gave a thoughtful talk at the opening, and I'm posting it here with his permission:

Standing at Waters Edge

Good evening and welcome to standing at the waters edge.
We meet today on Whadjuk Noongar land and I acknowledge them as the spiritual and cultural custodians of this land.

40-50 thousand years ago the inhabitants of the north of this state applied images to the walls and roofs of caves and rock shelters. That these images endured the passage of time owes much to the stable structure of the raw, unfired, naturally occurring ceramic materials used. Images such as these can be found through Asia and locations in Europe although it can be argued that these are much younger.
The images speak of knowledge of country, of an intimate bond with the flora and fauna that existed there at the time. They speak of hopes, fears, failures and successes and are at once deeply personal and spiritually moving—a glimpse into our own nature from the very deep past.
The technical leap required to successfully fire clay did not occur for another 30 thousand years. From that point history becomes literally littered with fragments of pottery-both domestic and ritual—of an ever increasing technical ability. Our museums contain fragments, whole vessels, figurative and architectural ceramics that chart the personal and spiritual lives of the people that lived in early civilisations. The stories are humanly similar but regional and different, bound up in their own locale. Through history, as trade developed on the road to the concept of globalisation, the individual stories became blurred. The status delivered by something from somewhere else became important. Add to that the development of industrial mass production and with only a few exceptions the individual and regional stories in ceramics disappeared. So much so that now in most cities of the world you can find ceramics designed by a Scandinavian but manufactured somewhere in Asia.

All that said though industrial ceramics are deep in our lives. They are in our houses, our transport, communications depend on them, from the glossy paper in magazines ,--who would forgo their phone? Essential as these items are, the ceramic components are invisible - only part of a whole –they tell no individual stories.
Everything changes when clay is in the hands of a committed ceramic artist.
The objects around you did not spring to life of their own accord. Some are beautiful and some challenging and some both.They are the result of intellect examining broadly and in the minutest detail an environment. There is evidence of a successful quest to understand and come to terms with the deepest physical and emotional structure of that environment.
There is not just an intellectual reporting ,there is evidence that the imagery has been formed by applying a highly developed intuitive (some may say heart) sense to add an extra layer of meaning and abstraction.

All of that would come to naught if Andrea had not spent years understanding the nature of clay, developing and honing her skills so that her hands could execute what head and heart demand.
There are stories here. Personal stories from Andrea. Questions about what it is like to be at a boundary of existence, at water’s edge so to speak, where life, death and renewal are displayed in real and abstract ways . They have much in common with the core of the ancient rock art. The stories are skilfully woven and leave room for you, the viewer to add your own experience.
I urge you to look and really see the stories .They are told in ways that the written word cannot.

Thank you.

Stewart Scambler      8 July 2016

Thank you Stewart!!!

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