Back to the Table @ Sturt

Opening Sunday 14 September, 11am by Robin Murray, Chef/Owner of Centennial Vineyard Restaurant, Bowral NSW.
Back to the Table: Tableware by emerging ceramic artists
Sturt Gallery from 14 September to 16 November 2014
Curator Vicki Grima has invited the artists to ponder the role handmade ceramic tableware plays in our everyday lives.

Artists: Joey Burns, Zak Chalmers, Andrei Davidoff, Kate Jones, Janetta Kerr-Grant, Rachael McCallum, Ashley Fiona McHutchison, Sarah O’Sullivan, Serena Rosevear, Alexandra Standen, Andrew Widdis, Dawn Vachon and Hayden Youlley. 

“Back to the Table” brings together a stimulating proposal – an intimate gallery space, thirteen emerging artists, a diversity of ceramic work and an active audience. A meal, too, can bring together many things – a table, people, tableware, food and the time for sharing and conversation (or not, the case may be). My aim in “Back to the Table” is to merge these two concepts together – to bring the pots from the table, out of their comfort zone into the gallery, from being in your hand at the table to being on a plinth here. I’d like the viewer to ponder the role handmade ceramic tableware can play in enhancing nourishing food, stimulating interesting conversation and in the enjoyable sharing of food at a common table.

Many of us share memories of meals enjoyed … whether it’s through smell, sound, touch, taste or the visual. The regular gathering of family and friends around the table to share a meal is a ritual still enjoyed by many, but this routine activity has been fading in more recent times. With busy family lives, the prevalence of takeaway food, eating on the run and increasing faddishness of food trends and special diets, this daily tradition has been undergoing change. For many people it is common to eat alone, serve food from a plastic box or sit in front of a screen to consume a meal. This changing paradigm became my focus for this exhibition.

Can we bring people back to the table? Have they ever left? Is it worth coming back? What is the role of the ceramic tableware in the sharing of meals? Can we influence this shift by creating handmade tableware which implores use and subsequent enjoyment?

I therefore challenged these artists to consider the role handmade ceramic tableware plays in our everyday lives and to present us with ceramic proof of their thoughts, to give us a reason to ditch the mass-produced imported tableware which floods our homemaker stores, and open up a dialogue. With the growing awareness of sourcing locally grown produce, the slow food movement and the backyard vegie patch, now may be the perfect time for handmade tableware to fill that void with renewed vigour. All the artists involved have moved, in the last few years, from study into building their studio practice and were keen to be involved, to see where the challenge would take them.

From memories of childhood picnics and the ritual of table setting, to eating our favourite foods with siblings and cherished patterns on old china, the artists have considered a diversity of ideas around the theme. Their work implores that you feel the cups in your hands, fill the bowls with delicious food and consider the ways in which the ware on your table can enhance your sharing of a meal. These handmade pots will enrich experience around any table – they are individual, chosen and show the maker’s hand.

We want you to buy these pots, take them home and enjoy them … not on the shelf but on your table.

On the table, the domestic world can meet the handmade world.

Vicki Grima, Curator

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