Sharing an attachment to the handmade form and a resistance to highly polished surfaces, Walker and Nithiyendran are at the forefront of the current revival and repurposing of ceramics within contemporary art.
Jake Walker describes his work as a type of “Folk Modernism” that returns emphasis to the method and mark of the artist. For Sydney Contemporary, Walker continues placing his paintings within handmade ceramic vessels. These sculptural containers enclose and augment the often spare but nuanced surfaces of his paintings. Recalling Japanese ceramics and the aesthetics of Zen, these new works invite gentle observation and a sensory engagement with the material form. Born in New Zealand in 1971, Jake Walker has lived in both Sydney and Melbourne. He recently returned to New Zealand and currently resides in a small town outside of Wellington. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held in New Zealand and Australia. His work is included in numerous public collections, including Artbank, The Chartwell Trust, Wallece Trust and Te Papa Tongarewa.
Employing humour and complex craftsmanship, the ceramic sculptures of Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran boldly address issues of ethnicity, religion, gender and sexuality. Resembling obscure objects of divinity and phallus-worship, they suggest rarefied forms borne out of a decentered and heterogeneous cultural and aesthetic landscape. In his works for Sydney Contemporary he continues to push the possibilities of his medium, presenting large and structurally intricate sculptures that hold a variety of glazes and treatments. Last month’s recipient of the prestigious 2015 Sidney Myer Fund Award for Ceramic Art and winner of the 2014 NSW Visual Arts Fellowship (emerging), Nithiyendran is recognized as one most exciting young artists working in the field of ceramics and sculpture in Australia today. Born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1988, he migrated to Sydney with his family in 1989. He holds a BA (UNSW), BFA (Hons. Class 1) and a Master of Fine Arts (research) from UNSW Art & Design.