Monash University

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Drawing into clay, a studio based exploration of form and gesture: intuitive drawing into clay as an experimental medium to explore and record impressions of landscapes

posted on 2017-02-21, 02:37 authored by Golany, Gail Galit
In my works, I capture and record gestures in a malleable material, clay. The movement of the body is captured in the clay, to witness the process of creation and as an expression of the material. Clay is used as a 'three-dimensional' canvas in which spontaneous drawing movements are imprinted and made permanent. Through this studio research, I have found drawing into clay amplifies the physical gesture inherent in drawing practice; two-dimensional drawing is explored in space and captured as a three-dimensional experience. The exploration of formal and material possibilities have been explored, and are expressed in the fired ceramic forms exhibited and recorded in this document. I start the works from standard blocks of clay and draw material inward and outward. It is principally a reductive process; I shift and remove material, as opposed to modelling and additive work process more commonly employed in ceramics. I engage in a dialogue between the block and the space within, and this process leads to unique and different aesthetics. I work with clay, a primary material, as though it were mud, and I use primary found 'tools' to draw and imprint into the clay, such as branches and stones. The work is not contrived, but intuitive and experimental. The types of clay used have a strong affinity to earth, and through the material and formal qualities the works acquire the quality of land and landscape. The works represent impressions, recollections, memories, translating the vast scale of a landscape into fragments of intimate experience. The most important inspiration in my work with clay is my connection to the land. Nowadays, working with clay is more relevant than ever, as our current increasingly urban lifestyle distances many from a close relationship with nature, but it has not diminished its importance to our well-being. I believe that art exploring the quality of earth and nature can help in restoring these loosened ties. I endeavour to make works that will capture the viewers and stimulate their engagement with nature and the environment. I acknowledge contemporary ceramic artists whose work is intuitive, earthy and breaks the 'rules'. I follow a path that has been led by artists Peter Voulkos, Don Reitz, Charles Bound and includes Claudi Casanovas, Rafael Perez. Their work was, and still is, revolutionary. I follow their path in search of my own voice, and a personal way to working with clay. A way that I believe can contribute to the discourse around contemporary ceramic art by discovering new ways of working with clay.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Marian Hosking

Additional supervisor 1

George Aslanis

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Fine Art


Master of Fine Art

Degree Type



Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture

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