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Theme: The Land

Artist: Marea GAZZARD
Birth/Death: 1928

Title: Dial I

Credit Line: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

Marea Gazzard’s ceramics achieved a sentinel-like monumentality, while retaining vestiges of their vessel origins. While large for ceramics, her works still offer the intimacy that is a characteristic of the crafts. In a domestic setting, or the corporate interiors where Gazzard’s work was often seen, these objects offered a visual and tactile link to the weathered rock faces and landforms of the outback.

Marea Gazzard says that the shape of a flattened fig presented to her by a child gave her a form she had been searching for. When considering the outline of Dial I, the base can be seen as the stem and the lip as the exploded end of the squashed fruit. The fig is also a favourite in Greece, the country of origin for Gazzard’s family and home of the Cyclades, a group of islands in the southern Aegean Sea.

The simplified forms of Cycladic art have been another great inspiration for Gazzard and the ridges on the surface of Dial I suggest the abstracted faces of some Cycladic figures.

The Australian outback has also inspired Gazzard. The roughly textured surface and colour of Dial I speak of weathered rock faces and desert sand. The markings are reminiscent of Aboriginal carvings, while the narrow opening gives way to a dark interior alluding to the mysteries of nature.

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