Staged is a new series of large-scale ceramic works by Alexandra Standen.
Alexandra Standen’s work explores our relationships to both physical and emotional spaces. Her work focuses on the subjective, cultural, and ideological meanings of material objects, examining the way objects and their relationships act as metaphors for human behaviour.
Her practice also speaks to the process of making work in ceramic and a sense of unease that comes with engaging with a medium that holds a functional quality yet has a connotation of being fragile or precarious in nature. The repetitive gesture of ‘pinching’ her hand-built forms is as much conceptual as it is an an act of realisation.
As Standen creates, and the works begin to accumulate around her in her studio, she finds herself feeling more like a performer than an artist – with her creations the audience members. Slightly intimidated by their scale and growing number, they stand so statuesque on their cinder blocks, watching her perform. Now, emerging from her studio and on ‘stage’, arranged on their central platform in the gallery, they evolve from spectator to performer. Where she felt subject to their forms and resonating presence, this role is now reversed and in relation to their audience, play their part, subject to the world around them. The new works in ‘Staged’ draw attention to the dramatic effect the pieces have when interacting with each other on display.
Each individual work in this show is a survivor.
“As I scaled-up and experimented with the limitations of the medium, I experienced collapses, cracks, blowouts, and glaze disasters. These are all things that happen when working with clay, nothing is ever straightforward or predictable, but I found it hard to reconcile this with my own expectations. The process of creating this work took a little more than it usually does. Each surviving piece endured the rigours of its creation – traversed potential relegation to the dust bin and now revels in its singular uniqueness. As much defined by my intent, they are equally imbued with a personality gained through the journey of their making and survival.” – Alexandra Standen
In 2019 Standen was the recipient of the prestigious Cité Internationale des Arts Residency in Paris and undertook self-guided research living in Istanbul. Winner of the Sidney Myer Award for Ceramics, Shepparton Art Museum 2012, Standen was a finalist in awards including the Churchie National Emerging Art Prize, Gold Coast Ceramic Award and the Wynne Prize. She has undertaken residencies in Geneva, Tel Aviv and at the Harley Foundation in the United Kingdom.