Alana Wilson is going to be extremely busy through November. Between a solo exhibition, Conditional Archeology, in Melbourne (in collaboration with flowers by Phil Hyunh) and the release of a collaborative campaign with Paloma Wool for its winter 2016 campaign, as well as the day-to-day management of her online store and creation of new work, it’s certainly a positive foundation for the year ahead for the ceramic artist. “My work explores the duality and essence of both the object and the experience,” explains Ms Wilson. “Predominantly, the vessels reference historic utilitarian forms and retain some associations of use and function.”
Certainly, ceramics have tended to sit lower on the traditional fine arts hierarchy in recent decades, associated as they are with homemade pottery and garden statues. But in an age of experiential and digital art, handcrafts are making a significant return, offering instead longevity in their almost primal texture, and imbued so evidently by the artist’s hand, as in the case of Ms Wilson’s work. “The result is a hyper-personal and sometimes idealistic logic,” she says of the work, which references archeological artefacts and ancient vessels.
Ms Wilson’s practice incorporates extensive research and experimental glazing to achieve textured and decaying surfaces. Specific ingredients are added to her glazes that encourage pitting, bubbling and a maturing of texture within the firing. Layers of slips and glazes are built up to be fired multiple times, each firing contributing to the decomposition of the surface. Technical glaze research and experimentation with firings are a consistent tool in developing colours and surfaces to help achieve a futuristic calmness and subtle strength in each body of work.
Following her graduation from the National Art School in 2012, where her work was presented as part of the Giorgio Armani Postgraduate Exhibition, her work has been seen at Jasmin Shokrian Atelier (Los Angeles), Chinaclay and Sabbia Gallery (both Sydney). “For me, I love the physicality of the material and the naturality of each process involved,” says Ms Wilson of her analogue practice in the digital era. “I use extremely minimal synthetic ingredients and my work involves the harmonising of specific minerals in both the clay body and glazes. The scientific side of ceramics contributes to my work just as much as its aesthetic counterpart.”
Photography Liz Ham | Styling Jolyon Mason
Make-up Linda Jefferyes | Hair Sophie Roberts