Beyond the bowl – revisited: Contemporary ceramic and glass exhibition


Listen to Hurstville Museum & Gallery Curator, Renee Porter, give an introduction to Beyond the Bowl, focussing on artists Julie Bartholomew and Alexandra Chambers:

[Video transcript]

Whilst the doors to Hurstville Museum & Gallery have just reopened to the public; we are taking this opportunity to revisit our exhibition program and continue to provide alternative exhibition experiences online.  Beyond the bowl was on display in early 2019 and was an exhibition milestone for us as this was our first in-house curated art exhibition.

Beyond the bowl explores and celebrates the diversity and aesthetics of contemporary ceramics and glass. This exhibition showcases the works of ten of Australia’s leading artists;Julie Bartholomew, Alexandra Chambers, Cobi Cockburn, Matthew Curtis, Merran Esson, Honor Freeman, Anita Larkin, Eloise Rankine, Kirstie Rea and Emma Varga.

These artists push the boundaries as to what can be achieved when working with glass or clay. Beyond the bowl is an exhibition that encourages the viewer to look, engage, question appreciate and learn.  Take the time to have a closer look at some of these works, at first appearance you may recognise everyday objects such as a bucket, cricket bat, camera, or a garden rake.  This sense of the familiar acts as a tool to evoke a response in the viewer. Upon close engagement with the work, this sense of the familiar is questioned and at times challenged.

Bartholomew_GUCCI Kopori

Julie Bartholomew GUCCI Koppori 2018 porcelain

Gucci, Zara, Versace, Coca Cola, Chanel and Louis Vuitton appear as labels branding the shoes of Julie Bartholomew. Another visible feature on each of these pairs of shoes is a large barcode, awaiting scanning and the tell-tale ‘beep’ of yet another transaction.  These shoes themselves work in contradiction to the brands themselves that cover them. These are geta, a traditional Japanese shoe, resembling clogs or thongs, with a raised wooden base. Conventionally, these shoes would be worn with Japanese clothing such as a kimono or yukata. Recognisable long-standing Japanese print motifs such as flowers and rolling ocean waves, are an additional element incorporated into each designed shoe. Bartholomew has created these shoes to scale out of porcelain, with even the indentations of toes visible.  There is an element of irony and humour as these are clearly not wearable thongs you would find discarded next to your back door.


Alexandra Chambers Paperless 2018 kiln formed glass, fired decals, found object


Alexandra Chambers Instax Gratification 2018 kiln formed glass, fired decals, found object

Alexandra Chambers has referred to her artistic practice as ‘urban storytelling, reflecting on our connections with past and present technologies familiar with our popular culture and domestic life’ [1] Chambers pairs found objects with highly skilled and executed glass making that elicits memories and a reaction from the viewer.  This could be a box brownie camera paired with kiln formed glass fired decals. In another work it is a kindle and kiln formed glass fired decal library catalogue cards positioned within an obsolete card catalogue index.

We have recently reached out to these artists and asked each of them to share their perspective of the impact of COVID-19 on their artistic practice, day-to-day art making and future projects.  We will be sharing this in the coming weeks, along with a reinterpretation of existing content and education and practical resources so you too can get creative whilst you #stayhome.

Image captions

Julie Bartholomew ZARA Koppori 2018 porcelain

Julie Bartholomew GUCCI Koppori 2018 porcelain

Julie Bartholomew LV Koppori 2018 porcelain

Alexandra Chambers Paperless 2018 kiln formed glass, fired decals, found object

Alexandra Chambers Instax Gratification 2018 kiln formed glass, fired decals, found object


[1] Beyond the bowl, Hurstville Museum and Gallery, exhibition catalogue pg. 6

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