Pippin Drysdale shows her vessels at the
25th anniversary exhibition of
Gallery Heller in Heidelberg
by Heide Seele
Her surfaces are sensational. Anyone with a smattering of knowledge about ceramics can appreciate these elaborate objects. The Australian ceramicist Pippin Drysdale says her works are as “sophisticated” as she herself would like to be. Yet these distinguished vessels are undoubtedly a reflection of herself. So it is no coincidence that Marianne Heller selected them for her gallery’s twenty-fifth anniversary exhibition. Originally located in Sandhausen, her establishment was then was located for many years near the Heidelberg city garden – until a disastrous fire. Now that it is clear the gallery will not return to its familiar surroundings until next year, Ms. Heller holds her exhibitions in a range of venues.
The Drysdale show, which made a guest appearance in the Museum for Applied Arts Frankfurt from January to March of this year, opened yesterday in Friedrich-Ebert-Complex 11 in Wassili Lepanto’s gallery. Local ceramic enthusiasts were impressed by the quality of the objects, which have expressive titles such as ‘Bordeaux Red,” or “Yellow Green,” “Cobalt Blue with Soft Yellow” or simply “Pink.” Color is the primary means of distinguishing among the objects. The same production process is used for each porcelain vessel. 50 or even 70 centimeters tall, the vessels are thrown on a wheel, and the potter is a master of glazing techniques. Exterior and interior form a unity. First the form is made and dried, and then the interior glaze is applied. She sprays color on the outer surface and incises thin, inlay-like grooves into it. Then glaze is applied. Subtle shadings are the result, and only from a distance do they have a monochromatic appearance. The process takes several days to complete.
An aerial excursion over the Tanami desert inspired Pippin Drysdale to this new series. Traces in the Australian sand, which she saw from above, along with the changing colors, were the catalyst for her new vessels. This is also why the exhibition is called “Grains of Sand in the Sun.” The lines in the porcelain, which do not always run parallel to each other, can be understood as a reflection of her desert adventure. Once you know this, you need not view these fascinating objects solely from aesthetic standpoints, because they also reflect an experience of travel and landscape that was transformed through uncommon means.
Rhein-Neckar Zeitung, Friday, 2 May 2003