Artereal Gallery is excited to announce that we are now representing Ebony Russell. To celebrate this milestone, Artereal is pleased to present an online exhibition of Russell’s functional art objects featuring a selection of decadent and joyfully ostentatious candelabras, candlesticks and tulipieres. Titled #OTT, this latest body of work is an ode to excess.
Endlessly capturing the dichotomy of their feminine predicament – these objects of desire are at once attention grabbing, flamboyant and outrageous, yet also measured, painstaking examples of the pleasure of Russell’s practice, of precision and detail; an exquisite blend of both whimsy and abundance.
Bringing a lush, vivifying surge of decadence to the fading memories of childhood, there is an organic unity to Russell’s works which, without doubt, go far further than their functions require.
Ebony Russell is also currently working towards a solo exhibition, to be held later this year at Artereal Gallery, showcasing a series of major new artworks, including a large-scale ceramic installation. So stay tuned.
But for now, lockdown is the perfect time to take a lingering virtual wander through Russell’s latest exuberant creations in which she both recalls and calls upon the very essence of the craft of adornment.
“Ornate and baroque, Ebony Russell’s sculptures and functional art objects are characterised by decadent swirls and curlicues and the finely detailed visual repertoire of piped icing and cake decorating. 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.” – Rhianna Walcott (Curator)
“In my current art practice the sole use of decoration to create works connects to the historical discrimination of decoration through the rise of modernism in the late nineteenth and twentieth century.
My practice challenges the established perceptions of cultural and artistic practices that were coded as feminine, and henceforth, insignificant. I explore feminine sensibility and autobiographical narration of self while engaging with personal and collective experiences of gender construction, drawing from my own experiences in childhood and adolescence. Socially imposed gender stereotypes and categories have shaped my life as a young woman, mother, wife and ultimately as a person.
#OTT is a collection of decorative pieces constructed solely from decoration and decorated with decorative ornaments.
The decorative element of this work is not strictly essential (except that it is). It is a necessary unnecessary pleasure.
I wish to celebrate the decorative, promiscuous aesthetics and politics of impurity, the superficial, excess and delight – with pleasure.
Exploring desire, longing and notions of nostalgia these candelabra and vase forms incorporate techniques and processes traditionally used in cake decorating. The saccharine embellishment and delicate layers are intensified and given permanence with the use of high-fired porcelain. By focusing on decoration as my main form of construction, I recreate my childhood dreams. Mimicking the elaborate decoration of a dessert or celebratory cake, these dreamlike sculptures appear to defy gravity while simultaneously dripping with the heavy weight of desire. I push the medium to its breaking point, inviting collapse and instability in the form. Once the damage is imminent I switch my focus to one of preservation and protection, attempting to save it from ruin and total deterioration. “
Ebony Russell, Artist Statement (2020)
Ebony Russell is an Australian artist based in Sydney. She is a recent graduate of The National Art School, Sydney, where she completed a Masters of Fine Arts in Ceramics. In 2018, Russell was selected as a finalist in the biannual Sydney Living Museum – Meroogal Women’s Art Prize and was also awarded the International Franz Rising Star Award for excellence in porcelain, which resulted in a residency in Jingdezhen, China in 2019. More recently her work has been selected as a finalist in the 2019 Muswellbrook Art Prize, the 2019 Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize and again as a finalist in the 2019 Franz Rising Star Award. She is currently a featured artist in the Australian Ceramic Journal – Porcelain Edition.
Russell’s recent series of ceramic works, ‘Piped Dreams’ explores notions of nostalgia and desire as they are imbued in collected objects. Using an experimental construction method to produce sculptures made solely of piping, a technique usually reserved for the cake decorating craft of royal icing, Russell has developed a way creating forms that seem to defy their own making.
Releasing the decorative detail from a foundation or form usually needed for adherence or an anchor point for attachment, Russell incorporates confessional and autobiographical elements into her artworks to recreating her lived experience through a feminised craft.
The below exhibition features a selection of one of a kind and limited edition functional objects made by Ebony Russell through Piped Dreams studio. If you would also like to view a catalogue showcasing Ebony Russell’s available artworks please click here.