Column: Art / Music / Theatre

Home is where the art is

by Belle Place , January 31, 2013Leave a comment

A hut by Sarah CrowEST. Featured in Craft Victoria’s ‘Magic Mountain’ exhibition.

When Edmund de Waal released The Pot Book, fans gathering at the growing intersection of craft and art were rewarded. A compendium of pots from all periods, The Pot Book pairs decorative porcelain vases with simple, cheaply-manufactured plates for use in the home, each given the same artistic weighting and merit. It’s a visual reflection of de Waal’s assertion that, ‘in more recent times clay has been used not just by artisans and potters, but also by artists, designers and architects.’

I’ve always been drawn to ceramic wares. A long-time collector of clay vessels and bowls, I’ve always brought them into my home with the view that they were art pieces (noting things like the type of clay used, the firing process, the potters history). Many of these ceramic works are intended to be both domestic vessels –to have a use – and also to occupy a space in my home beyond their functionality. Domestic wares and the home domain are of late being more comprehensively reconsidered as artistic contributors, making a move away from pure utility, decoration or craft.

It’s impossible to ignore the rise in, and prolificacy of, blogs, retailers and publications devoted to hand-made interior decoration and handcrafted homewares. The Design Files, Apartamento, Finders Keepers, and so on. The compulsion to decorate our interior and personal spaces with handcrafted pieces has been given bonus currency; with the artisanal now being once again ticketed as art. Re-approaching and curating our living spaces, sharing them on social media, reading about them online, all reveals an obsession with perfecting our surrounds. In tandem with this movement is the gallery space.

Ben Barretto, Untitled (White), 2012, 165 x 252cm

A couple of years ago, Melbourne-based gallery Utopian Slumps presented artists’ works in the form of floor rugs in the group show, ‘In the Gardens’, curated by Misha Hollenbach. At AS gallery in Sydney, local artist Ben Barretto moved away from his usual-practiced medium of paint on canvas and presented woven wall-hangings for his show entitled ‘Weaves, Painting Paintings’. While the artists’ intention in each of these shows wasn’t to reference or re-contextualise the rug or a weaving beyond the domestic domain, it’s curious that the reference to domestic space, and a raising of the domestic object above its functionality, was present.

‘In the Gardens’ at Utopian Slumps gallery

A current group show at Craft Victoria, ‘Magic Mountain’, follows this gaze focused on the domestic space, considering the ‘notion of spacial [sic] and interior design, domestic decoration and the psychology behind creating personal or private space.’ Curated by Debbie Pryor, ‘Magic Mountain’ allows each artist to explore the nature of home, presented through a series of individually decorated huts. Of note, multi-medium artists Sarah CrowEST and Terry Williams present work that, while being a fantastical representation of domestic spaces, are significant in their interpretation of the home arena being considered as a creative, artistic space.

While there’s much left of the skepticism that dogs craft, a turning to the domestic space as a creative and legitimate arena for art means my small army of earthenware can sit secure on the shelf – their artistic currency is being fired up.

 

Belle Place is a Killings columnist and the Publishing Coordinator for Affirm Press. She lives and writes from Melbourne.




daniel-handler

Kate Harper

‘I think about terrible things happening’: An interview with Daniel Handler

Given the current age of acute media-fuelled panic over childhood trauma and accidentally fucking them up, Daniel Handler’s (aka Lemony Snicket) dastardly depictions of children fighting to survive can be read as tales of wonder. Kate Harper chats to Handler ahead of his upcoming Melbourne appearances. Read more »

o-MAGGIE-NELSON-900

James Tierney

Usefully Uncertain: A review of Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts in nine fragments

I first read Maggie Nelson in the April of last year, during the early feverish stages of an autumn cold. Her slim 2009 volume Bluets is a bare and consonant appraisal of blue – as a colour, as music, as meaning sexual content and the fuzzy indigo of depression. Read more »

2010_03_29

Nathan Smith

Writing about the New Yorker: A genre unto itself

In the introduction to her 1999 book Gone: The Last Days of The New Yorker, the famed American journalist and essayist Renata Adler opens with: ‘As I write this, The New Yorker is dead.’ Read more »

One-Direction

Rebecca Shaw

Right Direction: The value of fandom

I have a pop-culture confession to make to you, Internet. It isn’t something I’ve been trying to keep hidden for fear of seeming uncool, because that ship sailed long ago. But it is something I haven’t opened up about until this point. I, Rebecca Shaw, have become a One Direction fan. Read more »

abortion

Rebecca Shaw

Choice Without Stigma: Dismantling the abortion taboo

Abortion is still illegal in the criminal code in Queensland – even in this, the Year of Our Beyoncé 2015. While women are unlikely to face practical obstacles to abortion due to the law, it can still cause isolation and unnecessary fear, and creates a stigma around the act. Read more »

17177200132_2383e88c36_k

Rebecca Shaw

Rage Against the Marriage: The inanity of same sex marriage debate in Australia

I am someone who is completely comfortable in my sexuality, and who classifies myself as the genus Lesbionisos. I am 100% certain that I am not abnormal, an abomination, or in any way inferior to heterosexual people. Sometimes I even secretly think non-heterosexuals might be superior. But I haven’t always been this assured. Read more »

The_Gift_2015_Film_Poster1

Anwen Crawford

Memorable Chills: Edgerton’s Gift

The Gift is Australian actor Joel Edgerton’s directorial debut — he also wrote, produced, and stars in it — and it bodes well for Edgerton’s directing career. A psychological thriller, The Gift is efficiently and quite memorably chilling, at least for the first half. Read more »

wolfpack-1024

Joanna Di Mattia

Escaping The Wolfpack: Inside and outside the screen

The Wolfpack introduces us to the six Angulo brothers, who were kept virtual prisoners for 14 years in their Lower East Side apartment. More than a captivity narrative, this is a film about the influence of cameras and screens, and the transfixing, liberating power of cinema. Read more »

f9a2809e-97eb-400d-b491-b4b6a6f09930-2060x1236

Clem Bastow

Telling Stories: Women screenwriters and the obligation to represent

There is something in the recent call to arms for female writers and directors to ‘tell your story’ that leaves me feeling bereft, not vindicated. The idea that As A Woman I must write about women first and foremost is a special kind of hell. Read more »

golden-age-of-television

Jane Hone

How the Golden Age of Television Brought Us Back Together

I recently heard someone say that it used to be that at 6pm, everyone would sit down to watch The Cosby Show. It seemed at once a quaint and almost sci-fi notion ­– millions of people watching the same show at the same time. How things have changed. Read more »

glitch abc tv

Stephanie Van Schilt

A Glitch in the System: The ABC’s undead gamble

In one gasping breath, Glitch shows that the ABC is stumbling towards something beloved by TV audiences the world over, but that regularly eludes the Australian and film and TV industry: genre. And not just any genre, but the ‘return-from-the-dead’ zombie-style genre. Read more »

family-hour

Anwen Crawford

By Screen Light

Television and depression have a history together. We’re all familiar with the trope: the person who stays in on a Saturday night watching TV in their pyjamas is the sad schlub with no life. Read more »

ss_8df8236403f5aad45eeedd33d2bd545e45435b39.1920x1080

Katie Williams

The More Things Change: Choice and consequence in Life is Strange

You can either be a benevolent hero or a monster, but few games deal with the multitudes contained by actual people. And what does it matter, anyway? There’s no such thing as regret when it comes to in-game decision-making – not when you can so easily restart the game to see what outcome will result from choosing Option B instead. Read more »

svfw crop

Katie Williams

Silicon Valley Fashion Week?: Fashion, technology, and wearability

Last week saw the inaugural Silicon Valley Fashion Week? (yes, with a question mark) unfold in San Francisco. The show promised ‘drones, robots, and mad inventions’, and tickets sold out swiftly; attendees were clearly eager to see more inventive clothing in this heartland of nerds. Read more »

AnimalCrossing copy

Katie Williams

Digging For Meaning in Utopia: Storytelling in Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing is a series of games in which – as my partner once remarked incredulously – ‘nothing ever happens.’ In its latest incarnation, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you become the unwitting mayor of a town populated by anthropomorphic, bipedal animals. Read more »

Resized__863

Jane Howard

A Mess of a Brain: A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

In some ways it seems like an impossible task to take Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing and translate it to any other art form. How to find a life for a book that is so internal, so unrelenting, in anything other than the pure words of its narrator as they appear on the page? Read more »

Keith - photo Shane Reid

Jane Howard

Local Courage, Global Reach: The National Play Festival

There is something to be gained from observing any collection of works in close proximity, and in these readings you could see the way Australian playwrights are reaching out into the world. Together, these works show the minds of our playwrights in robust health, with works that are itching to find their audience. Read more »

2015GISELLE_Artists of The Australian Ballet. PhotoJeffBusby

Jane Howard

The Beautiful and the Dated: Australian Ballet’s Giselle

The weight of history sits heavily on the Australian Ballet’s Giselle. One of the most enduringly popular ballets from the romantic period, there is much to delight in its presence on stage and its lasting lineage. But 175 years after its debut, in a production that premiered 30 years ago, the sheen of Giselle has been dulled. Read more »