Media only: James Gordon, 202.633.0520; Rebecca Fahy, 202.633.0521
Public only: 202.633.1000
Exhibition dates: November 4, 2006November 4, 2007
August 31, 2006
In her own celebrated work, Australian ceramic artist Gwyn Hanssen Pigott nudges pale-glazed tableware forms into still-life groupings of bowls, bottles and cups. Individually familiar, the juxtaposed forms speak to one another and to the observer with surprising emotion.
Hanssen Pigott was invited to the Freer Gallery ceramics storage to assemble groups from the gallery's permanent collection, which ultimately resulted in the organization of the "Parades" exhibition on long-term view from Nov. 4 to November 2007. A concurrent Hanssen Pigott exhibition, "Still Lifes and Trails: Recent Porcelain by Gwyn Hanssen Pigott," will be on view at the Embassy of Australia in Washington, D.C., from Nov. 6 through Dec.1.
For the Freer exhibition, Hanssen Pigott selected from cases of Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Near Eastern vessels. Ignoring date and place and focusing wholly on color, form, pattern and relationship, she demonstrated a curiously sympathetic approach to the taste of Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), who acquired most of the selected objects a century earlier.
Hanssen Pigott's seven "parades" consist of 72 Freer ceramics gathered into surprising new arrangements. The exhibition presents a fresh way of viewing the Freer ceramics collection from the point of view of a contemporary artist using her own approach that simultaneously goes back to the "original" vision that informed the acquisitions.
Hanssen Pigott named the seven Freer groupings "Still Life with Pickle Jar," "Garden," "Remembrance," "Blue Parade," "Trail with Pale Bowls," "Float" and "Studio."
Ceramic artist Gwyn Hanssen Pigott was born in Victoria, Australia, in 1935 and studied fine arts at Melbourne University. She trained with Ivan McMeekin (1919-1993) in New South Wales and worked with Ray Finch (born 1914), Bernard Leach (1887-1979) and Michael Cardew (1901-1983) in Britain. After setting up studios first in London and later in Acheres, France, she returned to Australia in 1973 and has lived and worked there ever since. In the late 1980s she began exhibiting her work as inseparable groups, which she terms still lifes, parades
The Freer Gallery of Art, located at 12th Street and Independence Avenue S.W., and the adjacent Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, located at 1050 Independence Ave. S.W., are on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Freer houses a major collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century American art. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day, except Dec. 25, and admission is free. The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information, the public may call (202) 633-1000 or TTY (202) 357-1729, or visit the exhibitions section of the galleries' Web site: www.asia.si.edu.