In Kirsten Coelho, the first major publication on a practice spanning thirty years, images of Coelho’s impeccable vessels are interleaved with fragments of poetry and reproductions of paintings by Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, Russell Drysdale and Vilhelm Hammershøi.
In a series of essays, author Wendy Walker traces the evolution of Coelho’s textured practice, in which an ever-expanding framework of art historical, literary and cinematic references has driven a succession of formal shifts – a shaping of changes.
Inherited vocabularies are assimilated in hybridised multiple forms that are without replication. With the adoption of an ensemble mode of presentation, Kirsten Coelho’s small universes of transcultural objects transcend the familiarity of their everyday contexts to enshrine narratives of migration, transition and resettlement.
Kirsten Coelho works in porcelain creating functional forms and vessels of a distilled and otherworldly perfection, which represent her preferred fusion of the formal with the abstract. Deeply grounded in North-Asian ceramic history and the powerful legacy of the British studio movement, her refined interpretations of humble domestic wares nevertheless possess a distinctly contemporary and Australian sensibility.
She has exhibited extensively and increasingly widely – predominantly in Australia and the United Kingdom, but also Denmark, Hong Kong, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Taipei and the USA. Included in major international ceramic publications authored by Emmanuel Cooper, Louisa Taylor and Edmund de Waal, her work has been acquired for significant private and public collections.
Wendy Walker is an author, art critic, editor and occasional curator. A decade as the Adelaide art critic for the Australian followed a period (1999-2006) as contemporary art critic for the Advertiser. In addition to numerous art reviews and commissioned catalogue essays, she has written extensively on a broad range of the visual arts for national and international art journals.
She is a former editor of Broadsheet: Contemporary Visual Art + Culture, which was published by the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia. In 2006 she was the inaugural Samstag Writer-in-Residence at the South Australian School of Art and, in that same year, she curated Australian Contemporary for Collect at the Victoria and Albert Museum – an initiative supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.
Wendy Walker is the author of Deborah Paauwe: Beautiful games (2004), Sydney Ball: The colour paintings 1963-2007 (2008) and Sydney Ball: The Stain paintings 1971–80 (2013). She lives with her partner in the Adelaide Hills.
Image: Kirsten Coelho – courtesy of Wakefield Press