Paul Wood — HYPERCLAY
Wednesday November 30 2011
Welcome to the final instalment of the HYPERCLAY: Contemporary Ceramics artist profile series. Every week for the last eight weeks we have looked at one of the artists involved in the exhibition currently on show at Object Gallery in Sydney. Click here to catch up on the rest of the series.
This week: Paul Wood.
Paul Wood graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 1998 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, before going on to attain in 2003 a Graduate Diploma from VCA also. As part of his Graduate Diploma, Wood decided that, rather than create functional objects, he would distort them, transforming them into non-functional objects in the process. You can watch a video of Wood discussing the creation of his work for HYPERCLAY in our Video & Audio Gallery here.
After an experiment firing two plates stuck together with glaze and placed in a dish-rack, Wood asked his mother to cook a meal and, after the meal, he gathered together everything that had been used (including plates, glass bowls and saucepans), arranged them in a dish rack and fired them. The plates distorted to look like paper plates, the bowl melted into a glaze, and thus began his journey on the path of using found objects. This has manifested in his work for HYPERCLAY as Guardians of a Goddess.
Wood views the work as a ‘water feature without water’, referencing gardens from the multicultural area where he grew up. The bowls and tiles come from op shops and eBay, while the tigers and woman were sourced in nurseries and garden supply shops.
Wood’s creative starting point is the collected object. He thinks about what they’re doing and talking about before constructing a narrative between these objects, with narrative fragments ranging from small figurines to large sculptures (as with this work.) While analysing how they will melt or warp, he then begins to form a landscape around them.
Using largely found or recycled objects imbues a theme of sustainability into his work, something he notes is a concern. By collecting and refiring old, unwanted ceramic pieces, he finds that he is giving them renewed purpose, and in a way, making them new again. Most of these found objects aren’t designed to be refired, and will often crack or, in some cases, explode when he puts them through this process. On one occasion, a toilet he had incorporated into a work exploded in the kiln, embedding pieces of ceramic into the other facets of the work — something he quite liked. In his own words: ‘Catastrophe is a part of the work.’
Wood’s large yet playful work is currently showing at Object Gallery as part of HYPERCLAY: Contemporary Ceramics, and will tour to all venues over coming years. For a full list of tour dates and venues, and for more information on HYPERCLAY, please click here.
And so concludes our series of artist profiles for HYPERCLAY. I hope you enjoyed exploring the artists in more depth, and that you have a chance to witness these unique and exciting works in person over the course of the tour. Stay tuned for information on the broader release of the iPad App developed for HYPERCLAY, containing all of the featured videos, along with many more insights from students and experts, as well as a look at international ceramic movements and a message from the Producer.