Ceramic artist Kelly Austin is interested in how an understanding of one object may influence the perception of another; in the ‘friction’ between the recognisable and the abstract; in how placement and proximity, harmony and discord can generate various propositions and illusions. In her work, she explores the arrangement of ceramic objects in still life compositions, with the relationships between the individual objects weaving the constructed groups together. “Black pulls toward grey, interrupted by green and red … Movement sits alongside stillness in a conversation with balance”, she writes. Her works present an overall sense of resonance and softness through the use of colour, tone and shadow. The introduction of glass and block forms are also a new element to her practice, further enhancing moments of distortion and interest. Although simple in appearance, they show a mastery of technique. Each exquisite piece is carefully considered, beautifully made and invites the viewer to reflect on the combination of form, texture and colour. In a recent development for Kelly, she has experimented with ideas of erosion by introducing into the clay fragments of dolerite, which melt during firing. Pockets and pits remain in their absence, leaving traces of dark brown in the merged clay and glaze.
Kelly Austin was born in Vancouver, Canada, and currently lives and works in Tasmania. She received her Bachelor of General Fine Arts from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver and, in 2016, completed her Masters of Philosophy – Ceramics at the Australian National University. She has also recently completed a Bachelor of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Tasmania. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, most significantly, in 2019, Kelly was the winner of the National Still Life Award at the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery and she also received the High Commendation award in Victoria’s prestigious Clunes Ceramic Award. Kelly’s work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of Ballarat, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery and Devonport Regional Gallery.