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A ceramic exhibition breaking the mould

A ceramic exhibition breaking the mould

“As a material, clay can change its form under the hands of its maker – so too can each piece’s very purpose.”

Celebrating 60 years of clay-making in Brisbane, Clay: Collected Ceramics is more than just an exhibition of pots. Far from it. Instead, the exhibition is putting the spotlight on artists that break the mould (pun intended) of what ceramics can be.

Museum of Brisbane Acting CEO Cathy de Silva says the practice of ceramics has formed an integral part of various cultures around the world for centuries as a storage vessel of both traditions and tales.

“As a material, clay can change its form under the hands of its maker – so too can each piece’s very purpose,” says de Silva.

Ceramic artist Kylie Johnson (Paper Boat Press), for example, will quite literally share her lifetime passion for collecting pottery with a selection of pieces that smashes the perception that functional and beautiful are mutually exclusive. Built from Kylie’s extensive private collection, this deeply intimate installation will include an astounding selection of local and international work, hand-selected by the collector throughout her career.

The curated collection will include newly commissioned works from cutting-edge Brisbane ceramic artists: Bonnie Hislop, Steph Woods, Kenji Uranishi, Jane du Rand and Nicolette Johnson. Bonnie Hislop’s playful and provocative ceramics blend illustration, pot building and sculptural form with a decided tongue-in-cheek sense of humour – I want a Pony and Welcome to the Party, for example, are writ large across ornate and colourful pots. Steph Woods is another breaking new ground with her curvaceous and colourful works.

Taking a completely different direction is Kenji Uranishi, whose precisely detailed work is breathtakingly beautiful. Jane du Rand works magic with her mosaics and hand-made tiles, while Nicolette Johnson remains the queen of the organic surface (her Dark Tower for Heide MoMA 2019 was/is sublime).

For those looking for connectivity and history, the exhibition will also feature works by ten renowned makers including Carl McConnell (1926–2003), one of Queensland’s most significant post-World War II potters as well as Gwyn Hanssen Pigott, Milton Moon, Lyndal Moor and Kevin Grealy.

Yuggera, Biri Gubba and Warangu Artist-in-Residence Jody Rallah will use her handmade coolamons to create a new mural for the exhibition.

Greeting visitors to the exhibition Commune will comprise around 300 memory vessels lent by Brisbane’s ceramicist community for the museum’s largest artist-sourced display to date.

In addition, MoB will also take visitors behind the artworks and into the workshop in an exclusively commissioned film that delves into the hidden intimacy of the artist studio.

Clay: Collected Ceramics runs until 22 October 2023.

Museum of Brisbane

Housed within iconic Brisbane City Hall, Museum of Brisbane (MoB) celebrates the creatives and history makers to deepen an understanding of place. We reflect Brisbane’s people and passions and its ever-evolving cultures. Museum of Brisbane is Brisbane City Council’s leading history and art museum, where you can experience our city’s vibrant culture.



Gillian Serisier

Gillian Serisier is an editor-at-large for Indesign Media Asia Pacific, where she covers all corners of design and art across the Habitus and Indesign network. Gillian has contributed to many outstanding publications, and her extensive knowledge and sharp words make for compelling storytelling.