Brendan’s Portage Ceramic Award Entries



Ceramic Wall Sculpture Portage Entry

Skin, fibre, ribs and void.
Flight is part of a series of work in which I have been investigating the nature of matter and how things are put together.
The wing form has come to represent or symbolise many different things. In stripping back the layers I am not investigating the mechanics of flight, but rather the biology of aspiration.


Tide Sticks I


The capturing and measuring of the passage of time is something that has always been with us.


Southern Cross II


Recently in my sculptural work I have been exploring the nature of matter, using multiple small pieces of clay and other materials to build up wall mounted compositions. In “Southern Cross II” the small ceramic elements depict the vastness of the sky and the land form is made using a fireable cement/clay formula that I am developing. “Southern Sky Yellow”, the particles of the sky/universe are captured in a brass band, the landscape is stripped down to a slither.


Higgs Ocean

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Recording and recognizing the rhythms of nature has been a concern of art from the beginning. Divining and defining rules of these patterns, the shape of reality, is the domain of science.
In this piece I am reflecting on the patterns and rhythms of particles in waves.
The title comes from the book "The Fabric of the Cosmos" by Brian Greene . In the section describing modern theories of gravity Greene refers to the "...nonzero Higgs field vacuum expectation value " as a 'Higgs Ocean “.  Although I do not yet totally understand these theories I did have an instant reaction to his lyrical description of this part of the theory.  In my minds eye I could see this field rippling though all of reality.


Strategies and Outcomes

Portage Merit Award 2011

 Merit Award
I tend to spend a lot of time planning my wall pieces. In these I explore the nature of the material world. This piece is, in part, a reflection on my process but could also be read as a comment on the creative process in general. The earthenware strategies walk their way up the wall on their stumpy legs out of the vessel form suggested by the bent aluminium rod. They walk across the planning paper and pencilled line. At the top the cool small porcelain slab is the hoped for outcome.


Splash I & Splash II


Over the past few years my sculptural work has been concerned with investigating the structure of matter. In the “Splash” series I am using the cartoonesque depictions of water as a counterpoint to the solid rock type surfaces of the containment vessels. The captured motion of the splash parts try to escape the containment of the vessel form both figuratively and can literally be lifted out.


Etiquette Training Cup “Dexter"

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Over the centuries ceramic objects, with their link to food and drink have played an important part in the ceremonies of many cultures. We talk and drink and eye each other up over the edge of the tea cup.

In these works I am looking at the play between objects and cultural expectations. The use of contrasting materials, the forced instruction implied in the design, and the indelicate naming are all integral to these pieces.


Transitions and Terminations


I enjoy playing with the way different finishes and materials can be read and how they are juxtaposed . The shiny and new fragments on the wall are supported by the solid but degraded foundations. The linear element of the rods connect the forms and imply the passing of time.


Returns Shelf II



Objects accumulate over time. Some house memories and feelings that we return to regularly, others are just there. The objects on these shelves and the shelves themselves are shadows of things remembered.


Ceramic Kitchen Radio with Bluetooth


The aim of this piece was to make a functional object for the home. The limitless possibilities of hand formed ceramics lends itself to investigating unique shapes for this project. In the design and making of this piece I felt the interaction with the user is important feature, (twiddling the ceramic knobs and flicking the switches). The open terracotta ceramic body had the added advantage of good acoustic qualities. I relished the challenge of combining the oldest technologies with the most modern. 

This piece recieved an honourable mention.