current
Exhibition
Sad Birthday
4 November - 28 November 2020

(To view & purchase artworks from this exhibition scroll to the end of this webpage).

This November, Artereal Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new works by Sydney-based artist Ebony Russell. Having established a reputation with lightening speed, as one of the new generation of experimental ceramicists pushing the boundaries of the medium further and further into the realm of contemporary art, Ebony Russell is well known for her decadent, ostentatious and overtly feminine ceramic creations. Executed in a sugary sweet palette, her practice draws on the familiar lexicon of romanticised and kitsch decorative ornaments, imbuing them with a nostalgia which harks back to childhood and a girlish longing for more, more, more. This reference to the hopes and dreams which define childhood is counterbalanced by an awareness of the disappointment which adulthood inevitably brings, as fantasy and illusion slowly crack and splinter…

“There is a universal understanding of that essentially bittersweet essence to one’s birthday. We can all in some way relate to that feeling of being celebratory and ecstatic for all that we are and all that we have, whilst at once feeling a sense of mourning – of the loss of who we were and what might have been and the sort of inherently inextricable angst we often feel about how to appropriately capture all that in an acceptably festive way.

‘Disenchantment is the blessing of becoming yourself’.[1]

Unlike the willing suspension of disbelief, disenchantment is a stage of growing out of and growing into self. Once a spell is broken it cannot exercise any more power over the bewitched. For better or worse, you are free. This can come with the duality of emotions – heavy burdens and the great expansion of horizons.

The process of  piping faces is a kind of catharsis for me, a way of speaking to that essential dilemma, of tapping into that unspoken longing for that which can never be really satisfied, only decorated, embellished, or consumed.

The self-reflexive embeddings of mise-en-abyme have influenced my art practice where I begin a sculpture with the foundation of a term or a phrase that was used as an endearing pet name or description of how I should behave to obtain parental acceptance and love or adhere to patriarchal societal values.

 

They are constructed of an assemblage of memories, meditation, ideas, and analyses.

This speaks directly to the formation of identity where our traumas are inscribed upon us mentally and sometimes physically. In each piece, I trace myself recursively, like the dendrochronological tree rings or geological formations that hold the secrets of history and evolution.

These words are recursively piped in rose pink until they form a canyon and the colour along with the words eventually disappears. Pink bleaches to white and the letters combine and morph into layers reminiscent of a stalagmite structure. I view these as layers of identity performing my personality and the growing out of childhood ideals taught through a gendered upbringing.

Mirrors reflect these foundations – starting points for growing up. As a child, I played in the mirrors that lined the central aisle of my parents ensuite.  I would perform and peer into the image of an image of an image of myself – seemingly going on forever, stretching onward into the endless. Each copy of myself one layer deeper in the dim and remote reaches of the unknown – I looked for myself in the mirror then with anticipation for the future and what lay beyond, as the years pass with a birthday marking time I ponder on whether I have met the expectations of that child and all who place expectations on me including myself.”

Ebony Russell,
Artist Statement, 2020

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[1] Solnit, Rebecca. The Faraway Nearby, United States, Viking Books, June 2013

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Photography by Simon Hewson.

“Ebony Russell deliberately incorporates firing flaws into the otherwise sickly-sweet perfection of her sculptures. Disappointment is at the heart of their work, which explores the way that releasing our adolescent hopes and dreams can lead to a kind of existential mourning in adulthood. Russell works within the legacy of the feminist revival of women’s craft practices in fine art. Historically derided as frivolous and artificial, practices such as porcelain painting and embroidery have since the 1970s become emblematic of a refusal to accept the definitions society give women…

 

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The resemblance of Russell’s sculptures to icing also hints at the consumption of women as confected objects, whether it be through pet-names such as honey, sweetie, and sugar, or as a made-up, odourless, and body-hair free commodity. Russell’s forthcoming exhibition seeks to sublimate the disappointments of life directly; she literally puts faces to her emotions in wet clay, drops them on the floor so they flatten into contorted masks and fires them.”

Jaime Tsai
Art Collector Magazine 
Oct-Dec 2020 issue

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This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.

 

View Ebony Russell’s ‘Sad Birthday’ series in full below.

All prices are in Australian dollars and inclusive of GST. Freight and shipping costs not included. Please contact the gallery for assistance with freight. Prices are correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change without notice. For sales enquiries email: info@artereal.com.au 

Ebony Russell

Decorative Urn: Pink and Useless

2020, Piped porcelain and stain, 43 x 30 x 30cm
$4,500
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Ebony Russell

Decorative Urn: Blue and Hopeless

2020, Piped porcelain and stain, 43 x 30 x 30cm
$4,500
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sweetheart

2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 130 x 60 x 30cm
$5,500
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sugar and Spice

2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 121.5 x 40 x 40cm
$5,000
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sugar

2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, glaze and lustre, 121 x 30 x 45cm
$4,500
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Princess

2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 135 x 60 x 30cm
$5,500
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Pretty Little Thing

2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 120 x 40 x 40cm
$5,000
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Naughty and Nice

2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 122 x 50 x 35cm,
$5,000
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Honey

2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 122.5 x 30 x 50cm
$4,500
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Babygirl

2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 122 x 30 x 45cm
$4,500
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face Cluster: Calm Down

2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 14 pieces; dimensions of installation variable,
$1,000
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face Cluster: Manipulated

2020, Piped mid fire clay and glaze, 12 pieces; dimensions of installation variable
$1,000
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face Cluster: Sad Mad Bad

2019, Piped Jingdezhen Porcelain, glaze and VPD gold, 13 pieces; dimensions of installation variable
$1,300
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face Cluster: Manipulator

2020, Piped mid fire clay and glaze, 14 pieces; dimensions of installation variable
$1,000 (SOLD)
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face Cluster: Hot Mess

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 15 pieces; dimensions of installation variable
$1,500
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face Cluster: Highly Strung

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 24 pieces; dimensions of installation variable
$1,500
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Thirty Nine

2019, Piped porcelain and stain, 27 x 21 x 2cm
$1,000 (SOLD)
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Heavy Burden

2020, Piped mid fire clay and glaze, 14 x 16 x 2cm
$450 (SOLD)
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Mixed up

2019, Piped porcelain and stain, 21 x 19 x 3.5cm
$750
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Perfect Timing

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 27 x 20 x 2cm
$850 (SOLD)
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: So many times

2020, Piped mid fire clay and glaze, 24 x 26 x 4cm
$1,000 (SOLD)
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Take Another Little Piece

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 22 x 23 x 4cm
$1,000
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Cheater

2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 23 x 15 x 2cm,
$700 (SOLD)
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Unruly

2020, Piped mid fire clay, 26 x 16 x 3cm
$700
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Slap I

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 25 x 15 x 1cm
$750
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Put my face on

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 27 x 20 x 2cm
$850
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Made up

2020, Piped mid fire clay, glaze and lustre, 18 x 17 x 20cm,
$550
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Loose Lips

2020, Porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 17 x 20 x 2cm
$550
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Out of Control

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 27 x 20 x 5cm,
$850
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Gritted Teeth

2020, Piped mid fire clay, glaze, 22 x 22 x 2cm
$700 (SOLD)
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Sugar-coated

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 24 x 20 x 2cm
$750 (SOLD)
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Sweet N Sour

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 14 x 14 x 3cm,
$550 (SOLD)
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Tiny Cracks

2020, Porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 17 x 17 x 2cm
$550
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Contort

2020, Piped mid fire clay, glaze and lustre, 23 x 21 x 2cm
$650
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Gnarl

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 19 x 19 x 3cm
$600
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Golden Memories

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and gold lustre, 20 x 19 x 3cm
$700 (SOLD)
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Gritted Teeth II

2020, Piped mid fire clay, glaze and lustre, 20 x 22 x 2cm
$650
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Veiled Anger

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 22 x 21 x 3cm
$850 (SOLD)
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Time After Time

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 24 x 26 x 2cm
$1,000
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Gold Frown

2020, Piped mid fire clay, glaze and lustre, 16 x 17 x 2cm
$450
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Bittersweet

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 15 x 14 x 3cm
$450 (SOLD)
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Slap II

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 19 x 23 x 1cm
$750
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Forty

2020, Piped mid fire clay and glaze, 30 x 27 x 3cm
$1,100
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Deflated

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 17 x 27 x 3cm
$750
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Uncontrollable

2020, Porcelain, stain and glaze, 19 x 25 x 4cm
$850
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Bear it

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 16 x 17 x 2cm
$550
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Sulk

2020, Piped mid fire clay and glaze, 18 x 21 x 2cm
$550
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Long Frown

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 12 x 19 x 2cm
$550 (SOLD)
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Cloy

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 13 x 14 x 3cm
$450
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: In A State

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 30 x 19 x 2cm
$700
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: For Your Own Good

2020, Piped mid fire clay and glaze, 21 x 26 x 2cm
$800 (SOLD)
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Disenchantment

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and gold lustre, 21 x 24 x 2cm
$1,000
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Hysterical

2020, Piped mid fire clay and glaze, 21 x 23 x 2cm
$650 (SOLD)
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: It’s My Party

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and gold lustre, 18 x 27 x 3cm
$1,100
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Let It Go

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 18 x 19 x 3cm
$600 (SOLD)
Buy Now
Ebony Russell

Sad Face: Spilt Milk

2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and gold lustre, 18 x 27 x 3cm
$1,100
Buy Now

Additional Information

Upcoming Exhibition

Previous Exhibition

main gallery
Lionel Bawden
7 October - 31 October 2020
Ebony Russell, Sad Birthday series, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Birthday series, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Birthday exhibition installation shots, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Birthday exhibition installation shots, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Birthday exhibition installation shots, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Birthday exhibition installation shots, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Decorative Urn: Blue and Hopeless and Decorative Urn: Pink and Useless, exhibition installation shots, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Face Cluster: Highly Strung, 2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 24 pieces; dimensions of installation variable. Installation shot from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Face Cluster: Hot Mess, 2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 15 pieces; dimensions of installation variable. Install shot from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Face Cluster: Sad Mad Bad, 2019, Piped Jingdezhen Porcelain, glaze and VPD gold, 13 pieces; dimensions of installation variable. Installation shot from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Face Cluster: Hot Mess (detail), 2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 15 pieces; dimensions of installation variable. Install shot from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Face Cluster: Hot Mess (detail), 2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 15 pieces; dimensions of installation variable. Install shot from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Face Cluster: Sad Mad Bad (detail), 2019, Piped Jingdezhen Porcelain, glaze and VPD gold, 13 pieces; dimensions of installation variable. Installation shot from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Face Cluster: Highly Strung (detail), 2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 24 pieces; dimensions of installation variable. Installation shot from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Face Cluster: Highly Strung (detail), 2020, Piped porcelain, stain, glaze and lustre, 24 pieces; dimensions of installation variable. Installation shot from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Birthday series, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Birthday series, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Birthday series, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Birthday series, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Birthday series, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Birthday exhibition installation shots, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Birthday exhibition installation shots, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sad Birthday exhibition installation shots, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Honey, 2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 122.5 x 30 x 50cm. Installation shot from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Honey, 2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 122.5 x 30 x 50cm. Installation shot from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sugar 2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, glaze and lustre, 121 x 30 x 45cm. Installation photograph from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sugar 2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, glaze and lustre, 121 x 30 x 45cm. Installation photograph from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sugar 2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, glaze and lustre, 121 x 30 x 45cm. Installation photograph from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Pretty Little Thing 2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 120 x 40 x 40cm. Installation photograph from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Pretty Little Thing 2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 120 x 40 x 40cm. Installation photograph from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sweetheart 2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 130 x 60 x 30cm. Installation photograph from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sweetheart 2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 130 x 60 x 30cm. Installation photograph from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Naughty and Nice 2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 122 x 50 x 35cm. Installation photograph from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Naughty and Nice 2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 122 x 50 x 35cm. Installation photograph from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sugar and Spice 2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 121.5 x 40 x 40cm. Installation photograph from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Sugar and Spice 2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 121.5 x 40 x 40cm. Installation photograph from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Princess 2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 135 x 60 x 30cm. Installation photograph from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Princess 2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 135 x 60 x 30cm. Installation photograph from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Babygirl 2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 122 x 30 x 45cm. Installation photograph from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson. Ebony Russell, Babygirl 2020, Piped porcelain, stain and glaze, 122 x 30 x 45cm. Installation photograph from Sad Birthday, November 2020. Photograph by: Simon Hewson.