Our April laurel goes to Jane McKenzie, a ceramic artist whose work reduces modernist architecture to human scale.
Jane McKenzie is inspired by the buildings of Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn, and the sculptures of Ruth Duckworth and Isamu Noguchi. Her work activates the potential of their designs to create a light and shadow play.
The “Play of Light” series was loosely inspired by the Wooden Dolls designed by Alexander Girard in 1952.
I have a studio in the backyard of my house in Castlemaine. It’s a fabulous large space with lots of windows and a separate little room for my kiln. Apart from the kiln, the only piece of pottery equipment I have is a slab roller.
I love having lots of light around me – and blinds to control that light, but it doesn’t directly influence me. But the shadows my sculptures cast are important to me, they are another layer of complexity. I like to photograph them with strong natural light to make the most of those shadows.
Ceramics, or more specifically clay, is the material I choose to make my sculptures out of because I like what I can do with it and the methods I use. I’ve tried bronze casting, and I just didn’t like working with hard materials, power tools and potentially toxic processes. I like the softness and simplicity of clay. Architecture inspires what I make. Understanding materials – how they are made, what their strengths and weaknesses are, adds to an understanding of architecture.
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