Bringing clay alive: Audrey Martin and Peter Pilven alongside their works, Reveal and Conceal (2020) and Sentinel (2007). Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

NEXT GEN continues city’s ceramic story

March 6, 2021 BY

PETER Pilven’s skills as a ceramicist have informed the artistic process of student, Audrey Martin.

You might assume Pilven has taught Audrey through his work within Federation University Arts Academy’s graduate diploma of ceramics, but that’s not quite the case.

It’s his ceramicist daughter, Ruby that has been her studio art teacher at Ballarat Grammar, passing on the skills and techniques she learnt from her father, to a third generation of creatives.

Audrey is one of many 2020 VCE art and design students who have had pieces selected for the NEXT GEN 2021 exhibition, and will have work displayed at the Art Gallery of Ballarat at the same time as established ceramic artist, Pilven.

Her NEXT GEN contribution is mixed media creation, Reveal and Conceal, while his woodfired anagama stone piece, Sentinel, is part of the Federation University 150th Anniversary Trail.

“It’s really exciting to have this opportunity because everyone’s work is amazing. My work is all about how people conceal some aspects of their identity around others,” she said.

“I’ve included images that I’ve collected of people I don’t conceal myself around and am my true self with.

“The work is made of painted plywood, terracotta and porcelain. I’ve cut holes out of some of it, and I’ve screen printed images over the top.”

With the guidance and advice of Ruby Pilven, Audrey decided to experiment with ceramics for the first time last year, loving the process of turning a lump of clay into something meaningful, colourful and textural.

“Ruby is very passionate and has learnt a lot. Everything she knows about ceramics, she’s learnt from me, but I still haven’t taught her everything I know,” Peter Pilven laughed.

“It’s fantastic for the Gallery to have shown and supported three generations of ceramicists. It’s really nice to see people like Audrey getting involved in that, and in art in general.

“Ballarat’s had a huge impact on the ceramic scene because of the university, and the clay deposits discovered during the gold rush. The Gallery has had a very healthy collection policy with ceramics, and has been very aware of supporting local artists.”