Blenheim artist wins national award

22:30, Oct 28 2012
Fran Maguite
All-round success: Blenheim-based ceramic artist Fran Maguire has received one of two merit awards at the annual Portage Ceramic Art awards, New Zealand’s premier showcase of ceramic arts.

Ceramic artist Fran Maguire, of Blenheim, has pocketed $3000 after winning one of two merit awards for her "outstanding" work at the Portage Ceramic Art awards ceremony in Auckland on Saturday night.

Maguire received the award for her 3-D installation Impulse, a work that represents, in its most basic form, cellular impulses.

The idea was to try and replicate a 3-D "magic eye" image using ceramic discs and the colours red, black and white to achieve the effect of each disc looking like an impulse, she said.

Fran Maguire
Works by Fran Maguire

For Maguire, red was biological and represented matter in the installation, while black and white was the energy, akin to flicking a switch on and off.

"The red pops in and out and the black and white sets a vibration."

British ceramic artist and judge Dr Paul Scott described Maguire's work as visually stunning.


"Impulse is clearly the work of a skilled practitioner; it's an outstanding piece of work," he said.

Maguire, who has submitted her work in the competition twice before, is among 38 artists whose work is being exhibited in The Cloud at the Auckland Viaduct during Auckland's Art Week, which ends on Sunday. The 38 works in the exhibition were selected from 237 entries by clay artists from around the country, varying in colour and dimensions from the size of a fingernail to multi-piece, metre-high installations.

Kate McLean, of Grey Lynn, Auckland, took the second merit award for her work Double Ended Form, which had particularly stood out to judges because of its printing.

"To print well on clay is difficult," Dr Scott said. "This artist has succeeded in producing a beautiful, subtle print and the 3-D aspect means the work has multiple variations." Dunedin-based artist Jim Cooper's psychedelic, 30-plus piece installation Millbrook Holiday [the league for spiritual discovery] took out this year's supreme ceramic art prize, the Premier Portage Award.

Dr Scott said Millbrook Holiday' encompassed contrasting qualities and was the standout winner.

The Marlborough Express