Newcastle Art Gallery celebrates the bliss of domestic life

26 Nov 2020

Newcastle Art Gallery is encouraging audiences to view everyday household items in a whole new light with the launch of its exhibition, DOMESTIC BLISS: functional works from the collection. 

Drawn exclusively from its nationally significant ceramics collection, the Gallery will display works of art from Australian and international practitioners. 

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said with so much time spent at home during COVID-19, now was the perfect time to remind people of the beauty and traditions associated with objects usually found in the home. 

“Newcastle is fortunate to have such an extensive and diverse art collection to draw on for its self-curated exhibitions,” Cr Nelmes said. 

“During the seventies and eighties, the Gallery played a leading role in establishing Newcastle as a centre of national significance in ceramics, and our collection now features more than 900 ceramic works by Australian and international artists. 

“Notably, the Gallery has the largest collection of Sodeisha ware in the Southern hemisphere, which was donated to Newcastle in 1981 in recognition of the Gallery’s commitment to Japanese ceramics. 

“DOMESTIC BLISS provides an opportunity to showcase a small portion of this wonderful collection, highlighting the beauty of what is normally considered a humble household item.” 

Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton said the free exhibition features renowned ceramic artists who adeptly play with the conventions of functional ware, displayed alongside a new generation of contemporary practitioners. 

“Domestic and functional wares represent many aspects of life; the flower vase for ceremony and remembrance, the platter shared in celebration, and tea bowls representing culturally diverse tradition and customs,” Ms Morton said. 

“DOMESTIC BLISS elevates everyday ceramics as works of art and reveals the artists’ transnational stories of place and identity. 

“Honor Freeman creates deceptive works that mimic 1960s Tupperware and Gwyn Hanssen Pigott’s (1935 – 2013) still life takes cues from artists such as Giorgio Morandi and Chinese masters. 

“The skill of the Hermannsburg potters transform jars into expansive desert landscapes and a new acquisition to the Newcastle Art Gallery’s collection by Tony Albert marks the problematic 250th anniversary of Captain Cook.” 

DOMESTIC BLISS: functional works from the collection will be on display from 28 November 2020 to 31 January 2021.