Entitled YOU’RE WELCOME, Brendan Huntley’s work for the 2014 Adelaide Biennial reveals his enduring interest in history and ethnographic collections. Huntley’s ceramic figures demonstrate both collective and idiosyncratic personalities: “Someone with wonky eyes and a handle for a nose. Someone with a saucer for a toupee and thickly carved Cs for ears”, notes 2014 Adelaide Biennial catalogue author Douglas Lance Gibson.
Huntley’s figures adopt a life and personality of their own, with the artist’s thumbprint providing evidence of his intent. By displaying his works on enamelled wooden bats, typically used for wheel throwing clay, Huntley situates the works within the context of their original mode of production. But these animated figures remain untitled and unidentified, leaving the viewer to decipher their identity – an identity created through the act of exchange between sculpture and audience.
It happens, this frisson. They activate each other. Artist to clay, clay to clay, clay to glaze, sculpture to sculpture, sculpture to viewer. It’s an exchange of energy.
Douglas Lance Gibson