Fresh! 2000

Craft Victoria Gallery 7  21 December 2000

Fresh! 2000 featured 17 varied works by students graduating in Victoria. The works were selected from over 40 tertiary courses that annually hold exhibitions to highlight the achievements of their graduating students. The Craft Victoria Fresh! selection committee comprised a group of energetic and professional craftspeople that followed selection criteria that embraced freshness and innovation in craft-based media. The standard required the works to demonstrate understanding of technique and skill, and an ability to manipulate and experiment with the materials chosen resulting in a well-crafted object. The students chosen to participate also had the opportunity of being rewarded for their endeavours.

The Fresh! 2000 Craft Victoria Multiplex Student Award, of $2000, was won by Nicole Durling for her ceramic painkiller, Insolubles – Temporary Relief. In judging the award artist Rosslyn Piggott required the selected work to display some intellectual substance or ambiguity. The piece is in the shape of a large tablet although still small enough to tuck under your arm and carry away. It has the diameter of a large dinner plate 18 centimeters thick. The piece is seamless, white, smooth textured and matt finished. A groove divides the convex surface. The words TEMPORARY and RELIEF are perfectly incised along its outer circumference above and below the indent. The text, shape, smooth finish and ceramic material combine to create a witty result. It is at once a serious and humorous statement, enabling the viewers to make their own connections.

Jane Barwick received the e.g.etal Production Design and Development Award. This award provides the student with $300 toward material costs, an exhibition and the production of a product range. My Grandmother, Mother and Me crafted in silver, silver alloys and copper are three individual forms, connected primarily by their proportional shapes. Each form has its own character, signified by decorative pattern/technique and size. The simple shapes have a familiar warm quality; having smooth curved contours and a scoured matt finish. Decoration of the largest piece utilized a dipping technique, creating flowing intersecting values. The mid-sized figure sports a clear and crisp repetitive darkly etched pattern. A loose trailing flower vine, etched and inlaid using metal wire, decorates the contours of the smallest piece. The three sculptures recall the sequential lineage of painted Russian Dolls. The decoration of these delightful objects appears symbolic of their meaning.

The recipient of the David McArthur Photography Award received a photographic portfolio of his or her own work. Peter Randall received this award for his cleverly designed contemporary rocking chair, Curvette 1.9. Hand-laminated silky oak, metal and wood dowels were used to construct the chair. Well proportioned curves and angles give the rocker a new appeal. Clean finish, crisp construction and an understanding of the limitations of his chosen materials are exploited with skilful manipulation.

Megan Dollars' Woven Basket 1 is a tall curvaceous work constructed by cutting a photographic print horizontally into strips, then weaving them through cane uprights. At first glance the piece could be mistaken for a 1950s lamp, but there is no light globe in sight. A single isolated soft-edged bloom with strong wisps of colour occupies a narrow section of the surface. The overall effect of creating small angles using weave construction extends the excellent reflective quality of the photographic surface. The luminous pink/purple painted base adds sparkle and a stylish quality.

Made from reconstituted veneer LEVER Sideboard Lamp by Erik North is reminiscent of 1970s bedside clock radios. Imaginative skill has been used to transform squashed tube shapes into a well-designed modern lamp. Slices of orange acrylic, cut through the veneered shape, are used to both support the object and give a soft glow of light.

Christine Muir presented a fresh approach to the ceramic bottle with groupfive. The work for me brings to life Giorgio Morandi still-life paintings of bottles. Muir has formed the clay into sensuous flesh-like structures. The celadon, high-sheen, crackle glaze appears analogous to skin. It covers the ceramic bodies accentuating the continuous variations of their physical nature.

Since 1993 the annual Fresh! Award has exhibited the vibrancy, craftsmanship and diversity of graduating students. Curiously, all the displayed works had been selected from metropolitan institutions, although work from regional campuses across Victoria also fell within the selection criteria. The opportunity to see the work of students from regional art and design courses and compare it with that of their city peers would have added further interest to the exhibition. All Fresh! 2000 exhibits displayed ingenuity and resourcefulness. As emerging artists and craftspeople they have used their chosen media to explore personal areas of interest to produce well-crafted objects. By honouring what has already been made and creating new forms they open up new fields of possibilities.

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