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People > Notable Kytherians > Marea Gazzard, (nee, Ploumides)

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submitted by Peter Bouras on 15.10.2005

Marea Gazzard, (nee, Ploumides)

Prominent Australian, and World sculptress.

Father: Haralambos Ploumidis

Antikythera


Marea Gazzard, (nee, Ploumides) - Gazzard Marea  Untitled earthenware

Marea Gazzard working on Mingarri

The Greek/Australian Superstar of Craft.


Marea Gazzard, aged 76, has a design background. She began studying ceramics with Rushforth and Douglas at ESTC in the early 1950s. She was influenced by the hand-building techniques of Ruth Duckworth and the form and scale of Grecian and Etruscan pots. She persistently argued for interaction and cross-fertilisation between art forms, rejecting conventional art and craft boundaries. This was a position strongly supported by leading potters of the time as the art/craft debate increasingly marginalised craft from contemporary art practice. Post-modern art development presented itself as the antithesis of craft processes although there was a lot of common ground in the impetus to confront and debate contemporary social issues through art and craft practice. However at this stage the expressive languages of each practice were perceived as oppositional.

http://www.australianceramics.com/DEC03/index_newc.html?newc_gall.html~main

Sunday Morning - Radio National

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/arts/sunmorn/stories/s1291364.htm

The Maker: Marea Gazzard

Marea maitains an inner city studio in Sydney.

Utopia Art Sydney
2 Danks St Waterloo 2017

(02) 9699 2900

Contact Utopia Art, here

Marea Gazzard was last year commissioned by the Municipality of Amaroussion to make a sculpture for their outdoor park, to coincide with the Athens Olympics. Sculptors from around the world, who lived and worked in cities where the games had previoulsy been held, were invited to make work.

Marea Gazzard's triangular forms in red and black patinas proved technically demanding. They follow on from her Bindu series, inspired by forms in the Australian landscape.

A book on Marea's work has been written by Christine France.

Called: Clay and Form.

Review of the Exhibition, Odyssey, 2004

Marea Gazzard, over more than five decades, has quietly formed clay into sculptures that defy time. Her shapes appear to have grown into being’~’wearing the marks of their creation. They have the softness of the newborn as much as that of ancient weathering. They are strong works, not in a musclebound way, but rather they possess the quiet ease of universal form.

Clay is her first medium of choice. Eschewing the fancier descriptions of terra cotta or porcelain, ‘clay is the only word she uses as descriptor. This plain talk is in keeping with the work. Gazzard ekes from this fragile material, objects that impart a rigour and an ease. The still, delicate wings, of some seem like steel, so proudly do carry themselves.

It is not surprising then that these works transform so readily into bronze. Gazzard worked in bronze early in her development but did not return to it until some years later. When she did however it became a powerful part of her oeuvre and sculptures evolved in clay and bronze. Some works have been developed directly from clay masters. In one exhibition a clay version of Zabuton was exhibited beside its bronze counterpart, identical except in medium. Other works have been formed in clay with the aim of a bronze work alone resulting. The Mingarri in New Parlia­ment House is the major example, but many other works are made in this way, the clay a means to an end creating delicate works that could only survive if cast.

In apparent contrast, Gazzard has just completed the largest ceramic works of her career. This work was commis­sioned for the Municipality of Amaroussion, for an outdoor sculpture park to coincide with the Athens Olympics. Gazzard threw herself into the challenge and in all produced six ceramic forms to achieve the two that fulfilled her ambitions. These works were technically and physically demanding and Marea was pushed to new limits. Bindu's triangular shape allows a dynamic interaction while standing calmly and poignantly as markers. Like much of her work they appear effortless, though they are a result of a great struggle to achieve stable forms that can exist in clay, in the elements.

Having delivered the commission, she was inspired to create a bronze variation that she did with the ease of an artist who has spent long hours resolving an idea and celebrates with another take on the same subject. BINDU A is such a work. These two bronze forms, again in red and black patinas, are the culmination of the Bindu series. Their presence is undeniable. This presence is an element that one feels again and again with Gazzard’s work.

This exhibition, Odyssey is made up of mostly modest scale works whose simple forms slowly insist on your attention. All the forms are standing and these pierced shapes remind us of signs and doors and windows. Their positive and negative spaces working to form a view and to be the subject of our vision.

Not content, Gazzard has gone on to create a totally new series, Dafni. This is a significant shift. These works with their botanical references emerge from rocklike bases. Their golden lustre adds to the lightness and elegance of these sinuous forms. They are a surprise and a pleasure.

The titles of this entire exhibition come from Aegean roots. Marea's father was born on Andikythera and suddenly the Olympic commission has formed a connection the work Marea was doing prior to it. The titles are used in Gazzard’s own way of naming to give the viewer a link, a point of entry, a connection. In a sense, the journey has taken many forms. As I write, Marea is attending the unveiling of her work in Heroes Square. She will no doubt be immersed in her Greek heritage before dashing back to Sydney to attend the opening of this exhibition. An Odyssey indeedl

Christopher Hodges 2004 ©

Journal of Australian Ceramics Vol 44 #3, 2005

Marea Gazzard, (nee, Ploumides) - Gazzard, Marea working on Mingarri

Marea Gazzard had a design background when she began studying ceramics with Rushforth and Douglas ESTC in the early 1950s. She was influenced by the hand-building techniques of Ruth Duckworth and the form and scale of Grecian and Etruscan pots. She persistently argued for interaction and cross-fertilisation between art forms, rejecting conventional art and craft boundaries. This was a position strongly supported by leading potters of the time as the art/craft debate increasingly marginalised craft from contemporary art practice. Post-modern art development presented itself as the antithesis of craft processes although there was a lot of common ground in the impetus to confront and debate contemporary social issues through art and craft practice. However at this stage the expressive languages of each practice were perceived as oppositional.

***From the Powerhouse Museum***

Dial 1

Aquisition Number: 95/169/1

Ceramic form, earthenware, Marea Gazzard, Australia, 1966

Description

Ceramic form, short cylindrical neck at base, rising to slightly flattened vertical rectangular form with rounded corners. Brown clay body with inclusions. A flat scraped rounded rectangular mark in the centre of the front face, with the line which borders this shape piercing through the body at the top. An orange mottled tone inside the square and irregular incised rings bordering the area. The centre of the back face is incised with lines in a roughly rectangular outline, with a patch of rust colour in the centre. Brown oxides rubbed in. The Form has been made 95/169/1-1 and a MAAS travelling frame has been made which is designated 95/169/1-x.
Production notes
Designed by Marea Gazzard (born 1928). Gazzard trained in ceramics in 1953-54 at East Sydney Technical College, and at London Central School for Arts and Crafts in 1956-57. Unlike most potters of the time, she was less interested in Oriental-inspired wheelthrown forms, and more interested in handbuilt vessel forms, influenced by modernist design, Cycladic sculpture (from her own Greek background), and other archaelogical forms such as pre-Colombian pottery and sculpture. 'Dial 1', was made in Australia after Gazzard returned to Australia, and is one of a series where she 'abandoned all suggestion of a container and presented forms which are completely contained apart from a slash or narrow opening' (Christine France 1994, p50). This was a precursor for later works which culminated in controversial 'milestone' exhibitions like 'Clay and Fibre' in 1973, and in commsssions like 'Mingarri- the Little Olgas' 1984-88, for the new Parliament House in Canberra. Her work contains references to landscape forms and more particularly, as with 'Dial 1', to human torsos and heads.

The following excerpt comes from the preaccession screen "Gazzard is important in the chronology of Australian postwar ceramics, as a significant and influential innovator. It is interesting in that her work draws on the ceramic and sculptural traditions of earlier cultures and yet is also in a modernist tradition. Gazzard is significant, not only for her consistent pursuit of a particular direction in ceramic work, but also for her professional roles in the development of the crafts in Australia. She was the first President of the Crafts Council of Australia in 1971 and the first Chair Person of the Australia Council in 1973, and was elected World Crafts Council Vice-President for Asia in 1972 and the President of the WCC in 1982."

Made by Marea Gazzard in her studio in Windsor Street, Paddington in 1966. Gazzard's work was characterised by her use of handforming rather than wheel-throwing; she handcoiled the clay into forms, then beat or paddled the surface, before inscribing it with sgraffito lines and rubbing in oxides.

The following excerpt is taken from the preaccession screen "Gazzard's work used simple handforming techniques to make monumental forms with a sculptural presence. They are primitive, yetmodern, subtle and yet complex. Her abstraction of human form and landscapeforms through these ceramic techniques made her work very different from othersworking at the time".

History notes

Exhibited in Gallery A, Paddington in 1966, in a solo exhibition where Gazzard explored four series: Boulder, Dial, Torso and Shield. Remained in the collection of the artist.

The following excerpt from the preaccession screen discusses the exhibitions in which Marea Gazzard exhibited. "Gazzard is one of the most influential ceramic artists to have worked in Australia in the postwar period. Her ideas and processes ran counter to the prevailing Oriental ideology for much of this time, yet was very influential and even controversial. The 1973 exhibition Clay + Fibre, where Gazzard's work was shown with weaving by Mona Hessing at both the Bonython Gallery in Sydney and the National Gallery of Victoria, provoked a range of critical reviews by eg. Patrick McCaughey, Alan McCulloch and Donald Brook, mainly centred around the dilemma of whether these forms were art or craft. Gazzard's work shows a consistent development from the early non-vessel forms like Dial 1 and through the strong statements of the white 1972 pairs of Delos and Gazi, to the monumental forms of the 1990s like Milos 1, already in the collection. The proposed acquisitions are key items of their time, and are now extremely difficult to obtain. The recent retrospective exhibition of Gazzard's work (SH Ervin gallery, 1994) and the publication of Christine France's book, 'Marea Gazzard, Form and Clay', Art and Australia 1994, has reinforced her significance in Australian ceramic history."
Remained in collection of the artist since 1966.
Acquisition credit line
Purchased 1995
Marks
Signed and dated, underneath, handwritten, pencil, "Gazzard '66". Signed and dated, underbase inside rim, handwritten black felt tipped pen "Gazzard '66" below which is a sqare adhesive white paper label with handwritten inscription in blue "30"
Registration number
95/169/1
Production date
1966 - 1966
Height
495 mm
Width
410 mm
Depth
240 mm
Subjects:
+ Australian studio ceramics

Delos: Naxos

Aquisition Number: 95/169/3

Ceramic form, stoneware,

Marea Gazzard, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1972

Description

Ceramic form, `Delos: Naxos', stoneware, Marea Gazzard, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1972

Ceramic form, flattened roughly circular hollow form, rising vertically from narrow oval flat base, handformed from coils, with beaten and paddled surface, showing beating marks. Light coloured body, with white semi-matt glaze on outer surface. Strips of leather glued under base.
(With 'Paros' this is one of a pair from the Delos series.)
(Includes mark on reverse where it touched another pot in the kiln, and also a crack that has been repaired by Gazzard.)
Ceramic form is 95/169/3-1 and MAAS constructed travelling frame is 95/169/3-x
Production notes
Designed by Marea Gazzard (born 1928). Gazzard trained in ceramics in 1953-54 at East Sydney Technical College, and at London Central School for Arts and Crafts in 1956-57. Unlike most potters of the time, she was less interested in Oriental-inspired wheelthrown forms, and more interested in handbuilt vessel forms, influenced by modernist design, Cycladic sculpture (from her own Greek background), and other archaelogical forms such as pre-Colombian pottery and sculpture. From the mid-1960s Gazzard 'presented forms which are completely contained apart from a slash or narrow opening' (Christine France 1994, p50). This work culminated in a controversial 'milestone' exhibition, 'Clay and Fibre' in 1973, with weaver Mona Hessing, and was later developed in commissions like 'Mingarri- the Little Olgas' 1984-88, for the new Parliament House in Canberra. Her work contains references to landscape forms and more particularly, human torsos and heads. The Delos series, with the two works Poros and Naxos, were included in the significant 1973 exhibition. The exhibition was characterised by groups of bold white handbuilt forms.

The following excerpt is taken from the preaccession screen "Gazzard is important in the chronology of Australian postwar ceramics, as a significant and influential innovator. It is also interesting in that her work draws on the ceramic and sculptural traditions of earlier cultures, and yet is also in a modernist tradition. Gazzard is significant, not only for her consistent pursuit of a particular direction in ceramic work, but also for her professional roles in the development of the crafts in Australia. She was thefirst president of the Crafts Council of Australia in 1971 and the firstchairperson of the Australia Council in 1973, and was elected World CraftsCouncil vice-president for Asia in 1972 and the president of the WCC in 1982."

Made by Marea Gazzard in her studio in Windsor Street, Paddington in 1972. Gazzard's work was characterised by her use of handforming rather than wheel-throwing; she handcoiled the clay into forms, then beat or paddled the surface, before inscribing it with sgraffito lines and rubbing in oxides.
Gazzard is one of the most influential ceramic artists to have worked in
Australia in the postwar period. Her ideas and processes ran counter to the
prevailing Oriental ideology for much of this time, yet was very influential
and even controversial.
The following excerpt comes from the preaccession screen "Gazzard's work used simple handforming techniques to make monumental forms with a sculptural presence. They are primitive, yetmodern, subtle and yet complex. Her abstraction of human form and landscapeforms through these ceramic techniques made her work very different from others working at the time".

History notes

Exhibited in Clay + Fibre, an exhibition of ceramics and weaving by Gazzard and weaver Mona Hessing. Also exhibited in Marea Gazzard's retrospective exhibition at the SH Ervin Gallery in 1994. Remained in the collection of the artist. Exhibited in Clay + Fibre, an exhibition of ceramics and weaving by Gazzard and weaver Mona Hessing. Also exhibited in Marea Gazzard's retrospective exhibition at the SH Ervin Gallery in 1994. Remained in the collection of the artist.

The following excerpt is from the preaccession screen "Gazzard is one of the most influential ceramic artists to have worked in Australia in the postwar period. Her ideas and processes ran counter to the prevailing Oriental ideology for much of this time, yet was very influential and even controversial. The 1973 exhibition Clay + Fibre, where Gazzard's work was shown with weaving by Mona Hessing at both the Bonython Gallery in Sydney and the National Gallery of Victoria, provoked a range of critical reviews by eg. Patrick McCaughey, Alan McCulloch and Donald Brook, mainly centred around the dilemma of whether these forms were art or craft. Gazzard's work shows a consistent development from the early non-vessel forms like Dial 1 and through the strong statements of the white 1972 pairs of Delos and Gazi, to the monumental forms of the 1990s like Milos 1, also in the collection. The recent retrospective exhibition of Gazzards work (SH Ervin Gallery 1994) and the publication of Christine France's book, "Marea Gazzard, Form and Clay", Art and Australia 1994 have reinforced her signifigance in Australian ceramic History."
Remained in collection of the artist since 1972.
Acquisition credit line
Purchased 1995
Marks
Signed and dated, under base, centre, handwritten, black felt tiped ben "GAZZARD '72" and handwritten in red biro, "M", depicted within a circle
Registration number
95/169/3
Production date
1972 - 1972
Height
660 mm
Width
700 mm
Depth
210 mm
Subjects:
+ Clay and Fibre Exhibition
+ Australian studio ceramics

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