As winner of the award of merit from the Design Institute of Australia in the Queensland Design Awards, a selection of the contemporary ceramics illustrated here was exhibited in 'Design Excellence in Queensland' at the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane in June 2006.
The International Magazine of Ceramic Art and Craft, Ceramic Review (link opens in a new window), features vol_Luminous in the May/June 2008 edition.
This collection of ceramic works entitled ’vol_Luminous’ comprises 17 wheel-thrown closed sculptural forms. All pieces are white stoneware clay fired to either 1280 degrees in reduction or to 1200 degrees in oxidation. They are finished with an original range of satin matt glazes.
Most pieces contain several hundred fibre optic cables (Aldebaran, centre-back above contains a single side-lit fibre optic cable) illuminated with LEDs to create patterns of light across parts of the surfaces of the works.
The collection is, in part, inspired by modern architectural forms and features and by organic forms, particularly those of succulent plants: holes in the surfaces of the pieces form patterns reminiscent of iterative growth patterns.
’vol_Luminous’ was designed as an installation. Each piece had to work as a piece of sculpture in the daytime while, like a building, it had to appear differently at night illuminated from both within and without.
I find I have a stronger aesthetic response to form which is apparently uncomplicated, but often reveals greater complexity on closer examination enhancing it and imparting a subtle shift from one state to another: shiny to matt; dark to light; opaque to translucent. I find the fractal quality of natural phenomena and iterative structures very appealing whether in the music of Brian Eno or Steve Reich, or in the undulating spine formations across the surface of a cactus or in the refraction of light across hundreds of windows in a high rise. Thus in the installation entitled ’vol_Luminous’, although each piece may stand alone, it is in the juxtapositioning of similar forms illuminated and unified with white light that creates impact and attempts to engage the observer in a dialogue with the work.
I enjoy evolving an idea: exploring the permutations of form and expression of materials in the creation of a body of work which is self-referencing and has an integrity without necessarily having explicit reference to something in the real world. Observers have likened the pieces to marine forms, jellyfish, futuristic cityscapes and exotic forests. I find that the pieces exhibit both an industrial and an organic aesthetic. I find it challenging to attempt to create work that is ’quiet’ yet has a strong presence; a quality I find in the sculptures of Anish Kapoor for example. These notions, together with inspiration from contemporary architecture and industrial design, lead me to create the installation entitled ’vol_Luminous’.
Embedded In the wall of each sculpture towards the base is a tiny socket connected to the LED inside, which illuminates the bundle of fibre optic cables. The LEDs require very low voltage: for a single piece a mobile phone charger is plugged into the sculpture; for installations of three or more pieces a single power point is all that is required as a series is run from a single dedicated Philips LED driver.
This permits a flexible, modular system in which the pieces can easily be interchanged and relocated. A piece can be plugged in and out of the series; i.e. they are not all ’hard-wired’ together. The LEDS, which illuminate the fibre optic cables, are new generation, high intensity LEDs with a manufacturer’s estimated life of ten years. The LEDs can easily be replaced.
The light emitted by these objects lends to their placement in rooms and hallways where subtle, ambient, night time light is required. Since the pieces sparkle at night I named each piece after a star and now, rather surprisingly, images of the pieces often appear in a Google image search before those of their eponymous giants.