Rust spots bleeding into an otherwise pure white glaze might seem like a corruption of some sorts, as though the pot is spoiled.
But in the ceramics of Kirsten Coelho these are minute painterly gestures, highly controlled and regulated, which emphasise the white smoothness of the glazed surface as well as alluding to her own urban surroundings.
Born in Denmark, she now lives and works in Adelaide. The ‘oil-stained’ pots resemble the enamelware used by the country’s early settlers and also recall the dominance of ironwork in Australian buildings, whether in the form of rusting corrugated roofs or twirling iron balconies.
Coelho’s work is domestic in scale and purpose – her bowls grace the table and cater to the fusion cuisine of South Australia.
As well as the matt white glaze seen here, she uses temmoku and celadon glazes to produce highly contemporary work with roots deep in oriental ceramic history.
Her temmoku glazes are some of the most lively currently being used. Coelho’s is intensely physical work, inviting touch, although free of all traces of making marks.