Mark Thompson's OF MEISSEN MEN Opens 2 September at Robin Gibson Gallery
An artist long devoted to the lost causes of notorious public characters, Mark Thompson's Of Meissen Men exhibition opens at Robin Gibson Gallery on Tuesday, 2 September at 6pm.
Allusion in the throw-away title Of Meissen Men suggests Thompson is at once concerned with the resonance of historical achievement and its quotidian echoes. This is polished legerdemain. With his unsettled figures, their deprecating gestures, strange habits, surreal juxtapositions and underlying disturbance of weird wonderland, this is pottery that purrs like a Chesire cat.
Thompson retains something of the prized arcane traditions of the great 17th century Meissen hard-paste modeller Johann Joachim Kandler - but is it only something? Are these Chinoiserie dolls and figurines meant to be nic-nacks for semi-detached urban palaces? conversation pieces for medium security condominiums? mantle-piece reassurances of 3D figuration in the age of the flat screen? Perhaps; but, as well as the familiar, in creeps the realisation that we are gazing on elements of a staged, glossy (but haunted) carnival world.
"This show has taken seven months of trial, error, heartache and the odd, surprising kiln firing success. After a long absence from ceramics, but fuelled by a few years of theatre design excesses, I thought it timely to return to my first 'love'" said Mark Thompson.
"Wandering the technical labyrinth between porcelain and earthenware, but always using white clays, the original joy of discovery has resurfaced. Using traditional 17th century techniques developed by the Germans (Meissen) after seeing early Chinese porcelain , I have plundered design sources usually reserved for my opera designs ;cross dressing warriors and pug dogs, louche, lounging dolls are inspirations for a body of work that is meant for the mantelpiece and glass stopped topped coffee tables of 'now'".
Mark is also busy with his theatrical work. He is Set and Costume Designer for Aida Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour for March 2015 and is currently designer for The 26 Storey Treehouse which opens at the Opera House on September 20.