Gwyn Hanssen Pigott | “Pleased to Meet You: Introductions”

The North-West Ceramics Foundation is pleased to announce the Australian ceramic artist Gwyn Hanssen Pigott as their featured speaker at a public lecture, free with museum admission, Saturday, November 3, 2012, 1:00 pm to 3 pm.

An exhibition at the Museum of Anthropology
Nov 2, 2012 to March 24, 2013
Public opening November 2, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
Co-curated by Carol E. Mayer (MOA curator) and Susan Jefferies (Toronto-based independent curator)

The lecture accompanies Pigott’s exhibition Pleased to meet You: Introductions. In this exhibition, the artist has created a series of installations with about 100 objects from the museum’s collection, which explore the artist’s life-long study of form, line and colour. The pieces (derived of many materials) are not placed within any historical or cultural context; rather, they are grouped to illustrate that makers share similar aesthetic choices regardless of social and cultural lineage when making decisions about the development of their work. The challenge for the viewer is to look at the groupings without thinking about individual origin, history or use, and, hopefully, discover a different sort of delight in the juxtaposition of the shapes of the objects and the spaces in between. Gwyn also imagined the objects asking: ” Who are you? Why am I next to you? Do we have something to say to each other?”

Her own work is displayed in tandem with the historic objects.

Gwyn Hanssen Pigott was born in Ballarat, Australia, in 1935 and graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1954. She worked with Ivan McMeekin at the Sturt Pottery in New South Wales, one of the most important apprenticeships of her career. They shared a passion for Chinese ceramics, and his deep understanding of ceramics, both as a material and process, was important to her. In 1958, she left for England, and, during this period, she worked with four of the most influential functional potters of the era, Michael Cardew, Ray Finch, Bernard Leach and Alan Caiger-Smith. She was also a colleague and friend of Lucie Rie and Hans Coper. She established studios in London and France before returning to Australia in 1973. In the late 1980s, she began grouping her signature pieces, beautifully made bowls, beakers and vases, into installations, emphasizing their interrelationships , which gave new meaning and stature to her functional objects. These installations are more about contemplation and the drama of line abutting form than function, although the historical references are clear. She has received the highest accolades, and her work is in major collections, both museum and private, throughout the world.

The North-West Ceramics Foundation will be co-sponsoring with the MOA a public talk by Gwyn along with Susan Jefferies and Carol Mayer: Saturday, November 3rd, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Free with museum admission. After the presentations, Gwyn will conduct a tour of the exhibition.

Note: For more on Gwyn Pigott, please see her work on the Galerie Besson website at