Zhu Ohmu's Coiled Ceramics

Naomi Russ, McGRATH, November 12, 2016

Exploring the ceramic vessel

 

Coil upon coil, Zhu Ohmu's works slouch and slink, plants seemingly woven into the ins and outs of the ceramic vessels. The works are a manifestation of her passion for the "symbolic relationship between nature and the urban environment," and the striking result of a trained artist, but a self-taught ceramicist.

Zhu Ohmu is a pseudonym, harking back to Taiwanese born, Melbourne based Rose Weir's cultural heritage. "I'm trying to reclaim and reconnect to my cultural heritage with my artistic identity - Zhu was the name of the first documented ancestor from my mother's paternal lineage," Rose explains.

Rose lost some of that connection with her culture while growing up in New Zealand, where she graduated from the Elam School of Fine Arts with Honours, in 2011.

Rose may have studied art, but her focus was on water colours and paintings. Her first foray into clay was when she "started playing with air dry clay to hold (her) growing collection

of houseplants." Her friend Hannah Valentine invited her to do a two person show, and Rose's beginnings in ceramics began to flourish.

"I originally explored clay coils as a response to 3D printed ceramics. Corresponding to biomimetics - the imitation of models or systems of nature," Rose explains, "I wanted to see how forms would turn out if I copied the way the 3D printer mound coils on top of each other with my hands."

The result is charming - and though technology inspired - a clear celebration of the artist's hand. "Vessels are built through stacking, folding, pressing, pulling and these actions are often dictated by the weight of moist clay," Rose explains, adding that forms emerge intuitively.

 

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