“It comes from the earth, looks like shit and can be considered fundamental, corporeal matter”, explained Sydney based artist Ramesh Mario Nithyendran about his interest in working with clay. Delighting in this “charged material”, Nithiyendran’s richly organic, sexualised forms offer an engaged and highly personal exploration of identity and societal norms. They also possess a finely tuned balance between attraction and repulsion. It is this delightfully uncomfortable position, somewhere in between these two instinctual and highly subjective states that initiated the selection of the following work.
Featured here are a diverse group of artists who are part of a ‘renaissance’ of this ancient medium in the vernacular of popular contemporary media. Each of these artists celebrate the agency of the hand made and transformative potential of clay, from carefully crafted mimetic porcelain, to temporal installations of air-dried clay. In an informed, vital and distinctly personal manner these artists exploit clay in varied consideration of perception and judgement, gender, history, spirituality and the beauty of the everyday.