28 May - 16 June 2009
about the exhibition
In creating her hand crafted vessels, Fiona Hiscock is motivated by a desire to attach joyful artistic expression to elevated functional form. Drawing heavily on the traditions of botanical illustration and colonial histories she harnesses the expressive power of fruit and floral imagery from remnant early settler’s gardens. Fiona views the traditions of utilitarian ceramic vessels within a broader concept of functionalism, relating her forms to pieces that were used in daily domestic rituals of the past. By exaggerating the scale of these forms, Fiona questions their mundane status and suggests the objects of daily life deserve prominence and position as items of beauty. Her vessels, loosely based on early colonial objects such as water pitchers, basins, cups and mixing bowls, are built by hand using the ‘coiling’ technique. Fiona transfers the image, or parts of the image onto the pots by drawing directly onto the bone dry, unfired surface using a lead pencil. Ceramic stains and coloured oxides are then applied in much the same way that watercolours are used, building up layers of soft colour wash. Recently, Fiona has added weeds like the blackberry bush to her vocabulary of quince, figs and pears. The meanings behind these motifs are not given, rather they gain associations for the beholder that are built up over time as they, and the vessels that bear them, are incorporated into the fold of experience and memory. By depicting scenes taken from the life cycle of a chosen plant – bud, flower, spent flower, fruit and occasionally the pollinating insect – Fiona intimates themes of the seasons of life to which everyday objects bear witness.
Born in Melbourne in 1965, Fiona completed her training at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in the early 1990s. In 1999, Fiona received an Australia Council grant to travel to Millennium Ceramics conference in Amsterdam and, in 2002, was the recipient of the Alice Springs Craft Award. She has been exhibiting consistently since 1991 and her work is represented in the collections of Parliament House, Jewish Museum of Australia, Queensland University of Technology, Deakin University, Shepparton Art Gallery, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Gold Coast Regional Art Gallery and Bathurst Regional Art Gallery.