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VIVIEN ANDERSON GALLERY | Janet Fieldhouse – opening Thursday 8 February

When: Open from Wednesday 7 February – Saturday 3 March 2018

Reception: THURSDAY 8 FEBRUARY 2018, 6pm – 8pm

The Artist: Janet Fieldhouse, of Torres Strait Island descent, is a ceramicist living and working in Cairns, QLD.

The Exhibition:

In 2017 Janet Fieldhouse was the recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts residency at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia USA, which she undertook in April of last year.

Following her residency, Janet travelled to Santa Fe, New Mexico, renowned for the pottery culture of the Tewa people.

Returning to Australia, Janet undertook a six-month residency at the Canberra Potters Society, where this new exhibition was created. The travel to the America, and subsequent travel to PNG for a cross cultural exchange with artists from Bougainville Island and Solomon Islands has had a profound influence on the work produced for Janet’s current exhibition CONFLUENCE.

I have been asked where I get the ideas to create the artwork - it reflects the merging of my own heritage and the similar traditions of the First Nations of America.

My exhibition Confluence is a meeting of cultures and a merging of similar techniques, a narrative of storytelling, and the beauty of landscapes.

Janet is a rare conceptual ceramicist. The new forms interrogate what it means to be a Torres Strait Islander woman living in a global community, working with materials that were not inherently indigenous to her people – utilised not for their functional properties, but story telling capabilities. The narrative is revealed through the name of the work, sometimes based on traditional objects (fish hook, marriage pendant, breast plate or previously scarification and tattooing of the body), whilst others explore the cerebral. All take an element of the original design and expand the forms in new and unexpected ways. The delicate balancing of individual forms in works such as Confluence 1 engages with the notion of the ideas and cultures coming together and complementing each other.

As a Torres Strait Islander woman, acknowledging the traditions of navigation, living off the sea and the land, and women’s traditional practices such as weaving body adornments for ceremony, I became aware of the contrasting and sometimes similar traditions of the First Nations of America and First Nations people of Bougainville Island and Solomon Islands. You would find that pottery is not my cultural tradition, but a western technique that was introduced to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through training. I use it as my canvas. I have used the colours of the clay bodies to imbue ideas from my individual journeys, interaction of family and my storytelling about my culture and the contacts with the First nation peoples.

Janet Fieldhouse graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts) with Honours, ANU, Canberra and completed a Master of Philosophy (Visual Arts) ANU, Canberra.

Janet has twice won the $20,000 Indigenous Ceramic Art Award at the Shepparton Art Museum and has exhibited widely throughout Australia. Her works are held in the following national and state institutions: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the NGV, Melbourne; Art Gallery of WA, Perth; QAGOMA, Brisbane and the Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra.

CONFLUENCE is Janet’s third solo exhibition at Vivien Anderson Gallery.

Ground Floor 284 – 290 St Kilda Road, St Kilda

T. 03 8598 9657

E. info@vivienandersongallery.com