Monday, February 24, 2014

Master Potter John Eagle

'This is where I live' is an exhibition of recent ceramics by Ararat artist, John Eagle. John's association with Ararat began following his artist's residency at Marian College. This residency evolved in a teaching role and a move to Ararat with his wife Rosemary, who is also an artist specialising in printmaking. This exhibition features richly glazed ceramics informed by the landscape around Ararat, including Mount Langi Ghiran, Mount Cole and the Grampians National Park.

The plates featured in this exhibition are from a major body of work commissioned from an American collector. John explains the origins of the project: "John Jay is a Ford executive who spent several years living and working in Australia before returning to America 23 years ago. Before he left he commissioned a copper red stoneware dinner set from me. John insisted that it was entirely up to me to create and he wanted me to use it as an opportunity to produce something special and develop my work...This was the unique opportunity that artists dream about: a patron."

Initially John considered developing a body of work inspired by the iconic images of Australia, from desert to tropical rainforests and the ocean, but with his relocation to Ararat a new source of inspiration emerged. "Driving back and forth at all times of day and night in all seasons made me realise that right here was my reference; my inspiration," John said.

John Eagle is widely recognised for his contribution to ceramics in Victoria. A graduate of RMIT, he enjoyed early success when selected for inclusion in the seminal Victorian craft exhibition, Craft Victoria '75 at the National Gallery of Victoria. Following an initial teaching career, John dedicated himself to a life as a full time potter. His commitment to his craft during these formative years was vindicated when he received the National Bicentennial Art-Craft Award for Functional Pottery in 1988. John is regionally associated with Linton Pottery, which operated at Linton, near Ballarat, from 1997 to 2007. He is also known in wider ceramics circles through his writing, mentoring and the inclusion of his work in exhibitions at galleries in Australia and overseas. His prize-winning ceramics often feature a striking copper red glaze, which remains a signature aspect of his work to this day. The exhibition continues until 12 March 2014.