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'Beyond the bowl' exhibition showcasing top glass and ceramic artists


Community members are invited to attend the Hurstville Museum & Gallery for the opening of the Beyond the bowl exhibition on Friday 1 February, which explores and celebrates the diversity and aesthetics of contemporary glass and ceramics.

The exhibition will be showcasing works from an impressive line-up of national and international artists including Julie Bartholomew, Alexandra Chambers, Cobi Cockburn, Matthew Curtis, Merran Esson, Honor Freeman, Anita Larkin, Eloise Rankine, Kirstie Rea and Emma Varga.

Georges River Council Mayor Kevin Greene said that the exhibition marks an important and exciting time in the Museum & Gallery’s history.

“This is the first time the Museum & Gallery has curated an in-house art exhibition, sourced from significant works of art from leading artists and galleries across Australia”, said Mayor Greene.

“We are thrilled to be able to present works from such high calibre artists, each of whom has contributed significantly to contemporary ceramic and glass on both a national and international platform,” he added.

Beyond the bowl explores how the mediums of glass and clay can be manipulated beyond our imaginations.

Five glass artists, including Alexandra Chambers, Cobi Cockburn, Matthew Curtis, Kirstie Rea and Emma Varga and five ceramicists – Julie Bartholomew, Merran Esson, Honor Freeman, Anita Larkin and Eloise Rankine are brought together to evoke a playful sense of wonder.

To curate an exhibition as impressive as Beyond the bowl, strong professional partnerships have been established with Sabbia Gallery, Defiance Gallery, Stella Downer Fine Art and Utopia Art Sydney.

Hurstville Museum & Gallery has produced an exhibition catalogue for this show, and was thrilled to have esteemed independent writer, curator and consultant Grace Cochrane write a featured essay for this catalogue. Grace was curator of Australian Decorative Arts and Design at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney from 1988-2005.

As Grace describes in her featured essay “while there are many recognisable items in this exhibition – from bowls and buckets to tools and treasures – they are not always quite just what we might expect of them; they take us beyond the familiar and contribute to different interpretations of meaning, function and form”.

This in-house produced exhibition is on display from 2 February – 18 April 2019 at Hurstville Museum & Gallery.

There is an extensive free education kit available online that targets the NSW High School syllabus. Hurstville Museum & Gallery encourages teachers to bring their students to see the exhibition whilst on display.

Hurstville Museum & Gallery will also run a number of public programs in conjunction with this exhibition. Please visit ‘what’s on’ for more information.

Official opening:
Friday 1 February 2019, 6.00pm
All welcome, drinks and nibbles provided. RSVP by Wednesday 30 January 2019. To RSVP visit the ‘what’s on’ page at

Contact information:
Hurstville Museum Gallery
14 MacMahon Street, Hurstville
Ph: 9330 6444

Opening hours:
Monday – Saturday 10.00am - 4.00pm Sunday 2.00pm – 5.00pm

Artist profiles:
Julie Bartholomew is an artist and educator in ceramics and is currently Head, Ceramics Workshop at the School of Art and Design, Australian National University. Julie's work has been collected both nationally and internationally by significant art galleries including the National Gallery of Australia Canberra and the Yingge Ceramics Museum, Taiwan.

Alexandra Chambers has been working in glass for 22 years. She enjoys travelling, and teaching glass blowing both nationally and internationally, and teaching at Pilchuck Glass School, Washington State, USA.

Cobi Cockburn is one of Australia's most foremost and innovative contemporary glass artists. Winner of numerous prizes including the Tom Malone Prize, Art Gallery of Western Australia (2009, 2015), the Talente Prize, Munich, Germany (2007) and E-merge, Oregon, USA (2007), her works are in numerous collections both nationally and internationally including the Palm Springs Art Museum and the Corning Museum of Glass, New York.

Matthew Curtis has been exhibiting his work both nationally and internationally for over 20 years. His work is widely collected in the private collections of such luminaries as Sir Elton John, and public collections including the Saxe Collection at de Young Museum, San Francisco, USA; the Ernsting Stiftung Museum, Coesfeld, Germany; and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, and has participated in prestigious art fairs such as ‘Collect’ at the Victoria & Albert Museum (2005-06, 2008).

Merran Esson has recently retired as the Head of Ceramics at the National Art School, and works from Square One Studios, Sydney. She has work in numerous collections both nationally and internationally and has exhibited extensively throughout Australia and abroad, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Galerie Rosenhauer, Germany; Gaffer Gallery, Hong Kong; and galleries in Korea, Taiwan, Sweden, Pakistan, Spain, Japan and Australia.

Honor Freeman has been exhibiting since 2000 and her work is held in numerous private and public collections including the National Gallery of Victoria, the Art Gallery of South Australia and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C. Honor's work has been included in major exhibitions such as Primavera 2007, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.

Anita Larkin is a sessional lecturer in sculpture at the National Art School, Sydney. She has had solo shows in Wollongong Art Gallery and Defiance Gallery, Sydney, with group shows including, the Wynne Prize, Sculpture by the Sea, the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize, the Blake Prize, Sculptural Felt International, 6th International World Textile Biennial of Contemporary Art Mexico and the Beijing International Art Biennial.

Eloise Rankine has been a finalist in prizes including the Ravenswood Australian Women's Art Prize (2018), Clunes Ceramics Award and the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize (2018). She has exhibited in numerous group exhibitions including ''Museum III' at Utopia Art, Sydney (2017), 'Out of Earth & Flame' at Shoalhaven City Art Centre and at the National Art School, Sydney.

Kirstie Rea has exhibited widely internationally and her work has been included in numerous Australian glass survey exhibitions. Kirstie has had solo exhibitions in Australia, the USA, New Zealand and Hong Kong, and her work is now included in international collections such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and the Alexander Tutsek-Stiftung Foundation, Germany.

Emma Varga has been a freelance glass artists since 1973. Emma has extensively exhibited at home and abroad in over 80 major international exhibitions and staged over 30 solo exhibitions. Her work is represented in both national and international institutions including the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Sydney, National Gallery of Australia, Palm Springs Art Museum, Kaplan/Ostergaard Glass Collection, Palm Springs, Design Centre Ishikawa, Japan, Toyama Glass Art Museum, Japan and the Glassmuseum Ebeltoft, Denmark.
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