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Meet the Artist: Ebony Russell

Our exhibition for Melbourne Design Week, Transcendence, is an exciting showcase of contemporary Australian design and we’re proud to introduce the work of artist Ebony Russell through this show.

A recent graduate of The National Art School, Sydney-based Ebony’s studies in ceramics led her to an experimental construction method unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Read on to hear from Ebony and see some of her works up close (the detail is truly incredible!).

Sydney-based Ebony Russell is a recent graduate of The National Art School and her unique construction method has captivated us.

Ebony’s series of ceramic works, ‘Piped Dreams’ focuses on notions of nostalgia and desire imbued in collected objects. She produces her sculptures by piping the clay in layers – a technique usually reserved for the cake decorating craft of royal icing.

Through this experimental method, she’s developed a process that allows her to create forms that seem to defy their own making. 

Her studies in ceramics led her to an experimental method reminiscent of the cake decorating craft of royal icing.
Utilising a labour-intensive practice informed by craft and immortalised with the permanent medium of porcelain, I work to understand myself and create personal narratives.”
— Ebony Russell

“Crevices and gorges are created in the layers of pink ombré ribbons. These grottos are spaces for secrets and private shrines. Hollows for memories lost, forgotten promises, dreams, desires and longings. It is here in these artificial landscapes of kitsch that romanticised and infantile desires lie, which I return to time and time again,” says Ebony. 

Ebony’s series of ceramic works, ‘Piped Dreams’ focuses on notions of nostalgia and desire imbued in collected objects.

There are many facets to Ebony’s practice, and the process of creating is very personal and explorative.

“Utilising a labour-intensive practice informed by craft and immortalised with the permanent medium of porcelain, I work to understand myself and create personal narratives. As I make these objects I meditate over what draws me back and this gives me the power to release the past and focus on a new future. Transcendence through reverie,” she says. 

The layers of pink ombré ribbons Ebony creates are the result of a labour intensive process.

In 2018, Russell was selected as a finalist in the biannual Sydney Living Museum Meroogal Women’s Art Prize and was also awarded first place in the International Franz Rising Star Award for excellence in porcelain which resulted in a residency in Jingdezhen, China. 

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.

"As I make these objects I meditate over what draws me back and this gives me the power to release the past and focus on a new future," explains Ebony.

Transcendence – which will exhibit at Modern Times from March 12 – 22 – explores how our lives are shaped and influenced beyond the physical by the furniture and objects we surround ourselves with. It is an expansion on the central theme for Melbourne Design Week – ‘How Can Design Shape Life?’.

This event is part of Melbourne Design Week 2020, an initiative of the Victorian Government in collaboration with the NGV.

'Transcendence' will exhibit at Modern Times from March 12 -22 and features the work of 13 contemporary Australian artists.

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