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The Space in Between by Emma Parker (VIC)


Canberra Potters


10 February to 6 March 2022


Tuesday to Saturday


Access the exhibition catalogue online

About the Exhibition

Opened 6pm Thursday 10 February 2022 by Katrina Leske, Gallery Manager at Canberra Potters.

Floor talk: 2pm Sunday 6 March 2022. 

Melbourne ceramic artist Emma J V Parker presents The Space in Between: a group of figurative sculptures that are relatable and reflect common experience. Parker’s work seeks to elevate the mundane and spark awareness of the preciousness and fragility of fleeting moments. The strange sensation of nostalgia for the daily commute, something previously unappealing is palpable.

“I find the act of people watching totally engrossing. A 40-minute journey on the metro, now a task in distancing, can provide the perfect opportunity to observe the people. The hour of the day and the dress indicate that they are heading to work, or to school, or the gym. But what is their story? They are absorbed by their devices or engrossed in thoughts, and assume that although they are surrounded, they are alone. They feel anonymous and invisible in this populated communal space. This is their time to think, consolidate and adjust to the day ahead. My observations of commuters celebrate the space and time in between what we call ‘living’. Everyone is waiting to arrive somewhere, but how do we occupy ourselves as we do so? The necessary travel time, the precious uncounted minutes.

The pieces are not portraits or representations of individuals, but composites of people observed over time and during numerous journeys. A figurative language of universal types and habits. ‘Every man’ going about their business. At the time the exhibition was proposed (October 2020, Melbourne) the thought of a peak hour train rammed with passengers was a concerning thought. Over a year later I still wonder when we will all be comfortably shoulder to shoulder once again.”

The sculptures focus on a subject, but the reverse of each piece reveals an image that lends a narrative or describes a scene. They range in size from 27cm to 60cm in height. Each piece is slab-built porcelain with painted underglaze. The facial features are lightly modelled, and the detail of clothing, hands and baggage is almost entirely painted, so there is a play on what is rendered and what has an element of real dimension. The pieces also have an exaggerated sense of foreshortening, which offers a slightly odd but humorous perspective. The platters and tiles have an element of pattern that fence the figures in. The subjects sit quietly in their accepted confines, and wait to arrive.

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