A Class of Their Own
Brian Keyte, Arnaud Barraud, Terunobu Hirata
14 - 29 April 2018, Skepsi @ Malvern Artists' Society Gallery
As a former Mechanical Design Draftsman and Engineer, it’s not surprising that I base my work on carefully considered research into the nature of form and surface. The challenge I find, is to push beyond this to an artistic level of eliciting an emotional response from the viewer, whilst at the same time still passing the Engineer’s “fit for purpose” test, meaning more correctly, “appropriate” for purpose. When you acquire my work, I would hope the purpose to be a lifetime of enjoyment. To this end I use high fired porcelaneous stoneware clay for its mechanical qualities of durability, strength and impermeability, and the artistic qualities one can achieve with copper and iron glazes at this temperature as well as the pure sounding ring of the vitrified body.
Humankind has evolved within the natural world. I reason, therefore, that if one can utilise nature’s design rules then the product will rest easy on the eye, as that is what we are used to, whether we consciously realise it or not. This should apply to form, colour and surface. The form is therefore thrown with the so-called “golden mean” and/or a Fibonacci progression in mind as a primary guide, the plastic nature of the clay and the intended glaze contributing to the completeness of the form.
I don’t make an “object”, that is the way to make routine, everyday work. I make “form” looking at line and movement rather than a “bowl” or vase. The Art is in the form. The final glaze finish should contribute to the piece in a similar way, changing and moving with the form to create a unified whole that beckons the viewer to touch and hold.
Place of Birth: Melbourne Victoria. Initial training, Holmesglen Institute of TAFE, Melbourne, Diploma of Arts Ceramics, 1996. Exhibitions include: 2016, Distinctive, Skepsi @ Montsalvat; 2014, Quiet Conversations, Skepsi @ Montsalvat; 2013, finalist Manningham Victorian Ceramic Arts Award; 2011 Reflections, Solo Exhibition, Skepsi @ Malvern; Arresting, Skepsi @ Malvern; Manningham Victorian Ceramic Art Award, exhibition and acquisition Manningham City Council; 2010 Gold Struck, Solo Exhibition, Skepsi on Swanston Melbourne; 2009 Brian Keyte, Solo Exhibition, Skepsi on Swanston Melbourne; 2007 Rhythm and Motion, Solo Exhibition, Skepsi on Swanston Melbourne; 2006 A Taste of Salt, Salt Gallery, Queenscliff Victoria; The Christmas Collection, Beaver Galleries, ACT. 2005 commenced full time studio ceramics. Collections include: Bendigo Art Gallery, Manningham City Council Collection, public and private collections in Australia, NZ, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, China, USA, Canada, France and India.
My career as a potter started quite accidentally. I was working as a painter in Sydney for six years through the mid to late 1960’s, rarely selling a painting and doing all sorts of casual work to support myself. In 1970, I decided to return to Auckland, New Zealand, where I was born, and stayed initially with a potter Adrian Cotter (some years previously, I had shared a house with Adrian while he tried to establish himself as a potter). At that time I was not interested in ‘trying my hand’, but I thoroughly enjoyed being close to the activity and the thrill of peeking into a kiln opening.
Adrian suggested that I try making pots in order to support my ‘painting habit’. He gave me two glaze recipes, a stoneware body recipe and a good look at his kiln. I then rented a house with a garage, and in the garage, immediately built a dense brick oil fired kiln -this was even before throwing a single pot. A forty-four gallon oil drum on the roof feed the two homemade forced draught burners. Adrian lent me a wheel he had made but had no further use for.
So I sat down and tried to throw pots to fill my kiln. My ‘learning to throw’ method was to take it to a stage that I didn’t know how to progress beyond; then I would return to watch Adrian. This process taught me how to watch intensely.
I look back with horror at the first time I fired the kiln. The firing progressed to a strong orange heat, at which point one wall of the kiln started to open up at the top, sending flames up, smoldering the rafters. I realised later that I had not noticed Adrian’s kiln had steel reinforcements.
Instead of turning the kiln off, I drove around the corner to the hardware store, bought a hose, returned and doused the woodwork then propped a steel stake against the wall to close the gap… and finished the firing. Fortunately in the 70’s, you could sell pretty well any old pot and those early pots were awful, but I was hooked and making pots has been my passion ever since.
I moved back to Sydney late 1976 and set up a pottery in the top floor of a large terrace house in Brown Street, Newtown. The kiln was in the disused outdoor dunny – our neighbours loved it as they still used their outdoor adjoining toilet, it warmed them on winter nights.
Next came Port Macquarie, NSW in 1978, where I worked in a large abandoned timber mill, sharing it with many varieties of snakes. I didn’t bother them and they didn’t bother me.
In 1980, I eventually moved to Melbourne where I remain working in my tin shed in Kalorama. I still work mostly with reduction-fired stoneware, but am rapidly falling under the spell of translucent porcelain, especially Southern Ice.
For over 30 years, I have lived in Australia after leaving my home country, Japan. The life in Australia has always reminded me of my Japanese origin. My passions have been to express the emotions and feelings I have had through my life in Australia, into my work.
My work process is that I initially determine the form (shape) and work on the glaze when it is in a completed shape of form. I transform the wheel thrown form when the form is firm like leather by using various methods including faceting, fluting, pushing in and out, stretching, patting and carving.
I have been fascinated by the Bizen’s features of simplicity reflected in the dark and subdued colors. In order to produce the Bizen’s characteristics, I use a dark body clay available in Australia and applied the method of transferring the tracing of fire onto the face of pottery by using ash and straw glazes, although glazes are not used in Bizen ware.
With this body of work, ash glazes and the Bernard Leach transparent glaze has been used.
I often use the glaze recipe from Warrandyte Potter’s Cottage during my training days. Also, synthetic ashes, wood ashes locally produced and straw ashes imported from Japan are applied to achieve specific effects. For example, the recipe from Joana Francis is used to create the black mat glaze and ashes are sprayed on to give it more depth.
Place of birth: Osaka, Japan. Initial training, Warrandyte Potter’s Cottage 1990-1994. Established Terry Koubou Pottery in Templestowe, 1994, creating pottery for many restaurants, especially Japanese restaurants in Melbourne. Exhibitions include: Gifted, Skepsi @ Malvern, 2017; Identity, Skepsi @ Montsalvat, 2017; Distinctive, Skepsi @ Montsalvat, 2016; Exhibition, Maunsell Wicks Gallery, Sydney, 2016; Gifted, Skepsi @ Malvern, 2016; Gifted, Skepsi @ Malvern, 2015; Solo Exhibition, East & West Art Gallery, 2015; Quiet Conversations, Skepsi @ Montsalvat, 2014; Gifted, Skepsi @ Malvern Artist’s Society, 2014; West Coast, East Coast Ceramics Exhibition with Greg Crowe, East and West Art, Melbourne 2012; Celebrating The Master, Skepsi on Swanston Gallery Carlton, 2004; The Second Wave at Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery 2003. Awards include: Pottery of the Year Award at Potter’s Cottage 1993; Manningham Victorian Ceramic Art Award 2011 Finalist; Manningham Acquisition Award 2013. Collections include: private and corporate collections throughout Australia.
Artist Studio Exhibition - Janet Beckhouse
24 & 25 February 2018, Melbourne
In my practice, I sculpt clay. It’s the medium I’ve chosen to express myself. The tactile feeling and plastic quality of clay are what I love. Whilst studying Masters (finishing in 2012), I was forced to look at the how, where and why of what I was doing in my practice. This lead to many personal insights into the past regarding works that emerged at quite specific times. My emotions were more relevant than I gave them credit for. Before this I assumed I just made stuff by whim! Also, the psychology of childhood, the sea and the bush that represented freedom in my early memories still permeate the work. I have always found peace and refuge in those environments. My work and creative interests have become all encompassing over the years. I realise I do not wish to do anything else. It gives me peace, comfort, and meaning in my life, and to share it is a joy.
Born Melbourne Victoria. Initial training Bachelor of Fine Art (with Honours), RMIT University 2000; Master of Fine Art, Monash University, 2012. Exhibitions include: Artist Studio Exhibition, Windsor 2018; Melbourne Now, NGV 2014; Dance of the Dissident Daughter, Skepsi @ Malvern 2012; Then & Now, Skepsi on Swanston Gallery 2008; Gift of Rod Fyffe, Bendigo Gallery 2008; Australian Culture Now, Ian Potter Centre NGV 2004; 6th Australian Craft and Design Showcase, Glen Eira City Gallery 2003; Hermann’s Art Award, Christine Abraham’s Gallery 2003; Prix De La Ville Carouge 2003, Geneva Switzerland. Publications: Ceramics Art & Perception, Issue 68 2007; Art & Australia, September 2003; Pottery In Australia, Volume 42 No 2, Winter 2003; 500 Bowls, Lark Publications, USA 2003; Ceramics, Art & Perception, Issue 68 2003. Collections include: National Gallery of Victoria, National Gallery of Australia, Hamilton Art Gallery, Shepparton Art Museum, Bendigo Art Gallery, Margaret Lawrence Collection Victorian College of The Arts.