Moving Forward, Looking Back
‘Moving forward, Looking back’ presents a curated selection of work from my personal collection, in conjunction with a new body of work.
For two decades or more my work has been moving forward along a line that was set in motion with the invention of Southern Ice Porcelain. The creation of this medium was hard-won, and it profoundly affected my work. A desire to explore its capacities has sustained my practice ever since, and it remains undiminished.
New developments include a series of carved bowls that are gently tilted away from the horizontal, with curved handles made from Tasmanian Huon pine. The series Southerly and Long grass at Coledale look back to earlier works decorated with metal salts, some of which are included in this exhibition. The brushwork in their recent counterparts is looser and less formal, seeking to capture the liveliness of a gusting southerly ‘buster’.
Another continuous line running through my work, and through this exhibition, is the image of kelp. It appears in works where the technique of deep-etching has been used to achieve maximum translucency, and in complex vessels shaped from kelp-like fronds of clay. Both try to express something of the sensuous shapes of kelp and its underwater movement.
Les Blakebrough AM, 2019
Click here to RSVP for Les Blakebrough’s ‘Moving Forward, Looking Back’ opening night on Friday 21 June, 6 to 8pm
120 Glenmore Road, Paddington, Sydney, NSW, 2121, AUSTRALIA
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In December 2010 Les sold his Hobart house, packed up his studio at the Centre for the Arts and stored the two containers. So came to an end the teaching and research at The Tasmanian School of Art that had spaned thirty-eight years.
The Bett Gallery exhibition Five Decades of Wonder and the publication of the Bett Gallery monograph Les Blakebrough – Ceramics was the conclusion of that long association with Tasmania.
The move to Sydney to join Anne Ferran in Darlinghurst saw in the new year of 2011, and later a house was rented at Thirroul on the near south coast to explore the possibilities of buying a house/studio.
In September we found a house at Coledale with space that would convert to a studio. This is an ongoing project along with developing a new garden, putting a stamp on the house that was big enough to also house daughter Cybelle and her two girls Claudia and Helena.
Commuting between Darlinghurst in Sydney and the Coledale house is an hour’s drive, or an hour and twenty minuets on the train.
A new garden has been a challenging project and the rain forest vegetation and climate of this stretch of coast a new experience. The sea is warm enough to swim and the 50m ocean rock pool is five minuets walk from the house.
Meanwhile there is stock at Bett Gallery in Hobart and Sabbia Gallery in Paddington Sydney and the monograph is available from the Bett Gallery.
An update to early 2015
The studio is ‘settled’ and a lot of work is being made for coming exhibitions. The studio has now been functioning since 2012. Several large groups of work for exhibitions in 2013/14/&15 have been completed. Work from the latest exhibition at Sabbia Gallery in Sydney November 2014 went into a national collection of The Australiana Fund for Public Buildings.
A two week residency at Bundanon in early 2015 allowed work to begin on preliminary writing for an auto- biography.
Later in 2015 accompanying partner Anne Ferran to the Australia Council Studio in Helsinki will enable Les to re-visit The Arabia Factory where he worked in 1993. A project is planned for that visit.
Beginning in late 2014, a series of adverse health events kept me away from my studio. It was February this year by the time I could get back to serious work. With the first kiln packed and ready to go, I was surprised to see in the Kiln Log Book (where I record each stage of the high temperature firing) that a full two years had passed, almost to the day, since the last firing. During that time of inactivity, new ideas had been growing, and it was a huge relief to finally be able to execute them.
My local environment in Coledale NSW continues to inform what I do: the brooding presence of the sandstone escarpment; the energetic forces of the ocean and the beautiful lines of the waves rising and falling; the dune grasses that move against the vividness of sky. All these influential images could just as easily be painted, but I continue to pursue them in my three dimensional vision.