Magdalena Dmowska's ceramic piece "Still Life"

Artwork: Still Life
Award: 2017 Merit Award Acquisition
Medium: mid-fire clay, underglazes, porcelain slips, handbuilt, plaster monoprint, dimensions variable

Manningham Art Collection. Image courtesy the artist.

"When approached in the round, my ‘still life’ of ceramic forms references domestic objects, architecture and the body, whereas from a distance it references painting. Painting is confined by its frame, or self-contained by its edge as it encounters the wall, while ceramic objects work in the round, hence they frame themselves as the ‘clothing of emptiness’. I want my work to show the special power of ceramic forms through their association with tactility and the familiar, as they create intimacy with the viewer, contrary to the experience of separation associated with painting. My work explores the manipulation of familiar forms in order to move the viewer’s attention towards the metaphysical aspects of ceramic objects soothingness and lastingness, the metaphor for the perceptible representing the immaterial. I want the viewer to think about the inside of the closed forms, to embark on a journey of discovering what is really present in the space – the still life of ceramic forms translated into abstract painting. Beyond the art gallery, ceramic objects are perceived through their socially embedded meaning associated with function. My work demonstrates that ceramic forms can operate as hybrids, referring to the function while completely abandoning it in order to embrace the container as the ‘ultimate form of abstraction’." - Magdalena Dmowska, 2017.