As one of the world's oldest and most traditional art forms, any mention of the word 'ceramics' might conjure up images of decorative vases, potters wheels or glass cabinets filled with historic vessels. However, this modest, unassuming cousin of the art world has crept back into the zeitgeist, thanks to a new breed of artists who are breaking the mold and redefining ceramics as we know it.

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Juz Kitson

Shapeshifters: the changing face of ceramic art

Part exquisite, part grotesque, Juz Kitson's haunting, other worldly installations explore sex, gender and identity. Her most recent work, Something Sacred, which featured in the Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize 2015, is a giant suspended ceramic installation, so heavy that it required a crane to fix it to the ceiling. A chaotic festoon of horse hair, antlers, fangs and more phallic objects than you can poke a stick at, it is one of those artworks that you could sit and stare at for hours. 

Check out her work in Turn Turn Turn: The Studio Ceramics Tradition at the National Art School at NAS Gallery, Sydney from June 5 - August 8, and in the permanent collection of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Hobart. 

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Marc Etherington 

Shapeshifters: the changing face of ceramic art

Marc has a refreshing approach to his art practise, crediting Play School for introducing him to the art world and listing his inspirations as '80s popular culture and his own self-deprecating part in that culture. This pop culture penchant rings true in I can't look at that, it hurts my eyes (pictured), which features a Masters of the Universe ceramic piece, a fluorescent children's chest of drawers and a very '80s-inspired wallpaper. Marc was featured in the recent group show Glazed and Confused: Ceramics in Contemporary Art Practice.

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Emily Hunt

Shapeshifters: the changing face of ceramic art

Emily Hunt's work sits at the opposite end of the ceramic spectrum to decorative vases; she is obsessed by the grotesque and her work often features layers upon layers upon layers of mutilated and disfigured characters. Excessive, dark and a little mad, Emily's imperfect forms and utopian worlds have captured the attention of curators and collectors both in her native Sydney and further abroad. She was the 2015 recipient of the Marten Bequest travelling scholarship, and is undertaking a rigorous six month ceramics and painting program in Brussels. 

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Paul Wood

Shapeshifters: the changing face of ceramic art

Melbourne based artist Paul Wood repurposes pre-loved objects from op-shops, ebay and verge side collections to craft his whimsical domestic sculptures which often reference his childhood. Featured in the national touring exhibition Hyperclay: Contemporary Ceramics, Paul Wood's Guardians of a Goddess comprises three kitsch ceramic garden figures - he makes ceramic sculptures using found objects, their faces smothered with melted, vintage coloured glasswear.

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Addison Marshall

Shapeshifters: the changing face of ceramic art

Addison Marshall is a ceramicist interested in hybrid works which merge the influences of art, design, craft and fashion. Addison states, "What really excites me is how I can take the ceramic medium to another level. I marvel at how unexpected combinations are forced together to create something new and unique." He recently created Desktop Office Works for Art Month Sydney, a curious display of ceramic objects to mimic an everyday office environment. 

Addison's work is currently featured in Turn Turn Turn: The Studio Ceramics Tradition at the National Art School at NAS Gallery, Sydney from June 5 - August 5.

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