Joel Smoker: Exhibition, Circle, Line and Square

Circle, Line and Square.

An exhibition of ceramics and pastel drawings from the Way Out West Series by Joel Smoker is currently showing at the Zig Zag Gallery, 50 Railway Road, Kalamunda, in Western Australia. The exhibition was opened on April 12th, by Bela Kotai, a celebrated West Australian ceramicist. A copy of Bela’s speech is up on Joel’s web site at Photographs of Joel’s ceramics and drawings are also on the web site.
With the ceramics in this exhibition Joel has pared down the forms and the surface decorations to the basic elements of circle/sphere, line and square/cube. The decorations include the symbols of the star, the wave, the triangle, the square and parallel lines, symbols which can find their echo in the Australian landscape. Joel has also referenced the colours of the Australian landscape in the dry glazes on the surfaces of the three dimensional forms and in the matt glazes on the surfaces of the square plates and circular platters. All pieces are fired to stoneware temperature.
Twenty drawings from the Way Out West Series are featured in the exhibition. These pastel drawings are of iconic places from around Western Australian that Joel has visited over a twenty year period. There are 50 drawings in the series and they have been published in a book titled The Way out West Series.
Joel is also a singer/songwriter and his latest CD of original songs, The Human Condition, is available at the exhibition.

A good number of people attend the opening of my Circle, Line and Square exhibition at the Zig Zag Gallery in Kalamunda on Saturday night which was great.

The Exhibition closes on the 4th May 2014

The Zig Zag Gallery,
50 Railway Road, Kalamunda.

Opening date: Saturday 12th, April at 6.00 pm.
Final day: Sunday 4th May.

Opening Speech: Bela Kotai

Welcome everyone and thank you for coming.

Like the spirit of Christmas, the spirit of artistic endeavor frequently disappears in a cloud of
commercial concerns, so in my opening remarks I want to refresh our awareness of the spirit
in which art, especially ceramics, is made. If this sounds like I am delivering a lecture, I
suppose I am, but don’t get the idea that I am discouraging you from buying. Just pointing to
the value of what you are buying.

Clay is the material that we take most for granted yet it is the one most deeply embedded in
our lives. If you are lucky, the second thing you press to your lips in the morning will be your
first cuppa in a ceramic mug.

Transformation of common clay into ceramic is the great gift and something akin to a
miracle. The Bible tells us that God was a potter so I am sure when they remake the movie
The Ten Commandments, starring Russell Crowe, truth will be revealed. Moses comes
down from the mount, not with stone tablets, but tablets of stoneware - and the burning bush
was actually a firing that just got a bit out of hand.

Clay is an immensely versatile material with a huge diversity of uses that renders it
commonplace and therefore almost invisible. Clay suffers from its ubiquity. Not intrinsically
precious, but just as we now decipher civilisations of the past traced on ceramics, it will be
the durability of ceramics that tells our story in the future.

Clay is the material that has contributed more than any other to civilized development.

In skilled hands, the vast array of utilitarian things from bricks to fine porcelain.

In the hands of the skilled and knowledgeable, the science of clay is used in the silicon chip,
the basis of our technological revolution.

In the hands of the skilled, knowledgeable and sensitive it is the material used for the
creation of art of the highest order. - The pieces on display around you are the product of
such a fusion of hand, mind and eye.

Importantly, each piece is unique and speaks of the character and individuality of the person
that made it - a product of deep personal consideration - of trial and error - and the exercise
of a highly developed critical sense.

I first met Joel at art school at Curtin University in the late seventies. They say a cauliflower
is a cabbage with an art school education. We certainly didn't feel like vegetables. The
Vietnam War had ended but the cold war was still on.

The trickle of interest in the crafts that started in the mid-fifties when my father was teaching
had become a river and most of us thought we were hot – and cool.

Not Joel. Joel was the boy from the country. His feet were firmly on the ground.

Zig Zag Gallery
Joel Smoker Ceramic Artist and Musician
Joel Smoker Ceramic Artist and Musician

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