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Ceramics: An Atlas of Forms by Glenn Barkley

Ceramics: An Atlas of Forms by Glenn Barkley

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The who, what, where and why of ceramic through more than 110 objects.

What can we learn about the Roman empire from an amphora made in 200 BC? How can a simple, unadorned cup made in 1945 tell us so much about history? And what will an artwork comprising a vast collection of clay spheres tell our descendants about the act of making?

Once fired, clay has the strength to last for millennia. Practical uses aside, ceramic objects are a testament to the power and innovation of ancient and ongoing cultural traditions. A single piece can tell an invaluable story about its time, the people who made it, how it was collected or its role within a broader cultural network.

Ceramics: An Atlas of Forms is a global cultural study through the lens of ceramics. Organised chronologically - from an Egyptian ceremonial jar made over 5000 years ago to works by 20th-century luminaries Lucie Rie and Bernard Leach, as well as First Nations artists from Australia and entirely unknown makers - this collection shares the stories of over 100 objects, honouring the artists who have left their mark on this timeless practice.

Glenn Barkley is an artist, writer, curator and gardener living between Sydney and Broughton, Shoalhaven, NSW. Barkley was previously senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (2008-14) and curator of the University of Wollongong Art Collection (1996-2007).

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