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26th Gold Coast International Ceramic Award

Also read: Marea Gazzard - a brief encounter

Simcha Even-Chen, Illusion

The Judge for this year's award, master Australian artist, Marea Gazzard has chosen Israeli artist, Simcha Even-Chen as the winner of the $10,000 acquisitional prize for her work comprising three separate elements in stoneware and porcelain entitled Illusion.

Marea commented - "There is an indefinable quality to this work - it appears heavy and solid yet is so light, it bears the marks of a precise grid yet has softness and irregularity - I found myself being drawn back to it."

Simcha Even-Chen, an Israeli clay artist who lives in Rehovot, Israel was delighted to receive the award. She has the unusual educational background of a combination of a PhD in Human Microbiology and studies in ceramics and since 1996, has run an active ceramic studio in parallel to her position as a Senior Scientist at the Medical School, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Her scientific background informs her work in ceramics, and the grid design used in this piece is borrowed from the graphic millimeteric sheets that were used in presenting scientific results.

She has recently participated in a number of international exhibitions, including the 8th Biennale de Ceramica in Manises Valencia, CERCO Aragon 2007 as well as the Sidney Myer Fund International Ceramic Award at Shepparton Regional Art Gallery and received a Honourable Mention at the 4th World Ceramic Biennale in Korea last year. She uses an unpredictable firing technique, which she describes as "Naked Raku".

Marea continued to comment "This exhibition is truly international - and is a major undertaking for a Regional Gallery to host and run. 288 ceramicists have entered and I viewed over 600 images. They reflect the fact that ceramics is a global art form. Of those only 50 were selected and all exhibit a high standard with good craftsmanship. The exhibition also presents a wonderful opportunity to make a purchase for your own collections at home."

Acquisitions

Further acquisitions made for the Gold Coast City Art Gallery collection Gold Coast City Art Gallery has built up an important collection of Australian and international ceramics since 1982 when the first works from the Gold Coast International Ceramic Award were acquired. The collection continues to grow with the following additional acquisitions.

Ray Cavill, Queensland Summer

Ray Cavill
Queensland Summer, 2008

Ray Cavill lives at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast and his large platter- shaped work evokes the blistering heat and red rawness of summer in Queensland. Wood-firing the shino glaze has the potential for unpredictable alchemic reactions, crackles, pinholes and crazes and Cavill has created a variety of surface tones and textures on this piece.

Marea Gazzard commented, "The work is strong - it commands respect".

Although the work is made using this very traditional method of shino firing, which was first developed in Japan in the 16th Century and revived over the last 50 years by individual ceramic artists, Cavills' own use of the technique is layered with a strong contemporary concern for reducing his own green house gas emissions - he points out;

"The fuel (wood) used to fire this work has contributed significantly less green house gases that the equivalent electricity or gas. Despite this and many other reasons to wood-fire, the use of considered design, materials techniques and tools will be an important progression in the development of this process for the method to survive."

Neville French, Winter Vessel

Neville French
Winter Vessel, 2008
Glazed porcelain

Marea Gazzard commented, " There is purity to this work, strength and a compelling presence."

The softly altered wheel thrown vessel references the artists' home landscape of northern Victoria - you can almost feel the moist chill in the air and see the horizon line of fields bathed in mist, an effect created by the subtle layering of glazes that French has patiently built up over the surface. He writes, "The big domed skies and the undulating grasslands of rural Victoria are my inspiration. They reflect the colour and light of the seasons, weather and time."

French also seeks to evoke a more universal transcendent quality to his works and it is this element that Gazzard has responded to in selecting the work. Born in Victoria in 1955, Neville has been a teacher of ceramics since 1982 at the Arts Academy University of Ballarat. He completed a MA in Ceramics at RMIT in 2000. His works are held in a number of State and Regional Public Gallery Collections in Australia as well as International public and private collections.

Gold Coast Arts Centre Friends Acquisition

The Friends of the Gold Coast Arts Centre have generously given the funds for the acquisition of a work for the collection. The work was selected by Marea Gazzard and the artist was thrilled to be present at the announcement which was made by Paul Fitzgerald, President of the Friends.

Kim Anh Nguyen, Spinifex II

Kim Anh Nguyen
Spinifex II, 2008
Paperclay

Marea Gazzard commented, "This is an exquisite work that has great delicacy and lightness - made of paper clay; each small spike is rolled between the fingers."

Kim fled to Australia as a refugee with her parents from Vietnam as a young child. She connects her own displacement with that of the Spinifex people of the Western and central desert regions of Australia who were also moved from their traditional lands during atomic testing in the 1950s. She has travelled extensively in this remote desert country and wanted to find a way to express both her own life story and this landscape and the tough spiky spinifex grass that thrives in those harsh conditions.

Like the overall winner, Simcha Even-Chen, Kim has a degree in Microbiology and has worked in this field for some time and only recently completed her studies in ceramics at Hornsby Tafe while her children were small.

Gold Coast City Art Gallery was also delighted to receive a donation from long standing local Ceramic Art Award supporter, Ruth Lyons, who gave the funds for the gallery to acquire the work by John Mawhinney for the collection.

All works are for sale. View works

The exhibition continues until Sunday 19 October.
Gold Coast Arts Centre, 135 Bundall Rd, Surfers Paradise 4217
Entry is free with a Gold Coin donation to receive the fully illustrated colour catalogue.

For further media information or to request images please contact;
Virginia Rigney
Curator Public Programs
Gold Coast City Art Gallery
rigney@gcac.com.au
www.gcac.com.au