Brian Keyte Exhibition: "Reflections"

Exhibition: Reflections
Date of Exhibition: 12 - 28 August 2011
Artist: Brian Keyte
Place: Skepsi at the Malvern Artists' Society Gallery, 1297- 99 High Street Malvern

Artist Statement "Reflections"

As a former Mechanical Design Draftsman and Engineer, I guess it’s not surprising that I base my work on the old “form follows function” adage. The challenge, I find, is to push beyond this to an artistic level of eliciting an emotional response from the viewer, whilst at the same time still passing the Engineer’s “fit for use” test, meaning more correctly, “appropriate” for use. To this end I use high fired porcelaneous stoneware clay for its mechanical qualities of durability, strength and impermeability and the artistic qualities one can achieve with copper and iron glazes at this temperature as well as the pure sounding ring of the vitrified body.

Humankind has evolved within the natural world. I reason, therefore, that if one can utilise nature’s design rules then the product will rest easy on the eye, as that is what we are used to, wether we consciously realise it or not. This should apply to both form and colour. Each piece is therefore thrown with the so called “golden mean” and/or a Fibonacci progression in mind as a guide, with the plastic nature of the clay and the intended glaze contributing to the final form.

I constantly work with the ratios of the elements of a piece in mind. Wether this be in the throwing of the basic form or in the reworking of a piece during or after the throw. Thus much of my work could perhaps be classed as “engineered” pieces, with the calculated rhythm of a wave formed rim, and the careful forming of a bowl to a predetermined shape, a catenary, parabolic or even semi hyperbolic curve. I enjoy that. Though some may see these forms as clinical in their calculated almost industrial aesthetic, they are informed by nature as the mathematics behind them is simply the mathematics that falls out of the natural world when we study it. It is the Cartesian mathematics of Descartes, Newton, Venturi and others who simply observed nature in fine detail and sought to explain it in the language of numbers. Though I work to these mathematical rules I find with knowledge of them, I can then break them, or at least bend them. This is particularly evident in bowl forms, some are more pronounced, a contraction of only one axis, leading to a more amplified rhythm whilst others have become more symmetrical, almost a sine wave form. I am studying rim curves versus bowl curve and finding that there seems to be a relationship. Certain bowl shapes are better served visually by certain rim shapes. There may even be a relationship to the tone of the ring of the piece when flicked with the knuckle.

In “breaking” those self imposed rules of good form, I find it best to start with a rigid adherence to them, to build a solid foundation of basic form on which to let the creativity have final sway. A piece that comes from the soul is thus able to stand proud, as it rests on a solid footing.

To my mind the final glaze finish should contribute to the piece in a similar way, changing and moving with the form to create a unified whole. With the original “clinical” form in mind along with the emotion that was used to modify that, I carefully work out a plan to glaze the piece to emphasize both and then let the creativity run free in the actual execution of the glazing process. Thus I use glazes that work with the light, to reflect it, absorb it or refract it.

My finished works therefore, are a combination of art and science that impinge on the senses of sight, touch and hearing. Thus I hope to touch the viewer.

Brian Keyte, July 2011.

CV

Originally qualified as a Mechanical Design Draftsman in 1975, further, Part-time Diploma level studies led me to being employed in a previous life
as a Mechanical Engineer.

  • 1996 Commenced a part time Diploma of Arts – Ceramics at Holmesglen TAFE after two years of various short courses in Terra Cotta sculpture and Ceramics.
  • 2005 Commenced new life - reincarnated as professional artist potter.
  • 2008 Teacher, “Advanced Glazes”, a post diploma glaze chemistry course at Chisholm TAFE.
  • 2009/10 Teacher, part time, diploma level throwing, glazing and kiln studies at Box Hill TAFE.

Exhibitions

2011 Manningham Victorian Ceramic Arts Award. Acquired By the Manningham Collection.
2011 “Arresting”, joint with Skepsi at MAS.
2011 “Reflections”, solo with Skepsi at MAS.
2010 Gold Struck, Solo Exhibition, Skepsi on Swanston
2009 Brian Keyte, Solo Exhibition, Skepsi on Swanston
2007 Rhythm and Motion, Solo Exhibition, Skepsi on Swanston
2006 A Taste of Salt, Salt Gallery, Queenscliff
2006 The Christmas Collection, Beaver Galleries, ACT
2006 Infra Red, Solo Exhibition, Skepsi on Swanston
2005 The Affordable Art Show Melbourne, with Skepsi on Swanston
2005 A Study of Line and Form, Solo Exhibition, Skepsi on Swanston
2005 The Alice Craft Acquisition
2004 The Victorian Connection, The Ceramic Art Gallery, Sydney
2004 Imperial Porcelain Exhibition, Skepsi on Swanston
2004 Affordable Art Show Melbourne, with Skepsi on Swanston
2003 Tea for Two, Skepsi on Swanston
2003 Reopening Exhibition, Potters Gallery, Warrandyte
2003 Imperial Porcelain Release Exhibition, Skepsi on Swanston
2003 VCG (Victorian Ceramic Group) Exhibition
2003 The Sensual Form, Solo Exhibition, Skepsi on Swanston
2002 Inaugural, Skepsi on Swanston
2000 Solo Exhibition, Northcote Pottery Gallery
1999 Solo Exhibition, Northcote Pottery Gallery
1998 Joint, with Heather Priestley, Northcote Pottery Gallery
1997 Joint, with Heather Priestley, Meat Market Gallery

Collections

Private Collections
Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Mainland China, Canada, USA, Singapore and all Australian states. Five by commission.
Corporate Collections
Melbourne, 7 commissions, total of 356 pieces.
Auckland N.Z. by acquisition.

Education

2009 Teacher, part time, diploma level throwing, glazing and kiln studies, Box Hill TAFE
2008 Teacher, ‘Advanced Glazes’, a post diploma, part time glaze chemistry course, Chisholm TAFE
2005 Commenced new life - reincarnated as professional artist potter
1996 Diploma of Arts, Ceramics, Holmesglen TAFE, after two years of various short courses in terracotta sculpture and ceramics
Originally qualified as a Mechanical Design Draftsman in 1975. Further part time Diploma level studies led me to being employed in a previous life as a Mechanical Engineer