Interview: Jan Howlin – “Show of Care” exhibition at Salerno Gallery

Let me start by saying that these wonderful creations by Jan Howlin are all made of porcelain and clay!!! Amazing! I saw an advertisement for her current exhibition, “Show of Care” at Salerno Gallery, which included a photograph of her work ‘Hanging Out, Hanging In’ (below) and the image instantly caught my attention. When I read that the work was created from porcelain, I knew I had to see it for myself. How is it possible to make these ceramic pieces looks so real?

I popped into the gallery yesterday to check out ‘Show of Care’ and was amazed by the realism and detail in the ceramic work. The problem I am encountering when visiting great exhibitions in the Inner West, like this one, is that I always find something that I want to buy. I could have quite easily walked out the door with the sculptural and textural pieces of  ‘Everyday Dreaming’  and I definitely pictured the beautiful empty yellow preset in my home.

Salerno Gallery is a relative newbie on the art gallery scene, being less than a year old. The gallery is located on the very trendy Glebe Point Road, perfectly suited to the vibrant scene that surrounds it. It is a fantastic space to showcase art because the street is always bustling with people. Arran Salerno is the creative force behind Salerno Gallery and his enthusiasm for promoting the work of a wide variety of artists is evident in the line up of exhibitions he has planned for 2011.

Huge thanks to Jan for giving us an insight into her art and process. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Interview: Jan Howlin

For those who may not have seen your current exhibition “Show of Care” at Salerno Galley, how would you describe it?
Show of Care is an installation in which 7 separate works made around the theme of care in our everyday lives are shown together in a kind of domestic setting. They are mostly made of clay, but with other materials as well.

Show of Care is concerned with the way everyday life is maintained within the home. It has been made in homage to my mother, whose care for me and my family, usually taken for granted, sustained and enriched our lives.

In exploring a number of the domestic activities, tasks and rituals fundamental to the experience of home she created for us, I hope to highlight the profound value of care, loving and giving in everyday life.

Where did your inspiration for your current body of work come from?
I had just begun my master of fine Arts degree at Sydney College of the Arts when my mother died after over 3 months in hospital, and everything set me thinking along these lines

How did you become a Ceramic artist? Did you always want to be an artist?
I went to a short community college ‘make a clay pot’ course and even on the second night I knew I wanted to play with the stuff and make 3-dimensional objects.

How did you go about getting your work exhibited at Salerno Gallery?
Arran Salerno saw my Masters exhibition at Sydey College of the Arts and invited me to exhibit.

What is your favourite piece in the exhibition?
My favourite piece is ‘Absent Present’ partly because of the simplicity of the piece itself – the titles of all of them are important – and because it is about giving.

What is the process involved in the creation of your art?
A lot of thinking first, then experimentation to find out how to make the thing I’ve thought of. I often need to develop techniques I haven’t used before, so it takes a lot of time, trial and error. A lot of error!

Where do you turn for creative inspiration?
My personal feelings and experiences

What’s next for Jan Howlin?
More work, pieces on how relationships run.

Inner West questions

Best place for a caffeine hit in the Inner West?
Bertoni Balmain, Campos Coffee, Newtown

What/where was the last great meal you ate in the Inner West?
Very good food and atmos at Signorelli Gastronomia Pyrmont

The Inner West’s best kept secret?
Then it wouldn’t be a secret.

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‘Show of Care’ runs until 11th June. Don’t miss it!

Note: There are also a range of Jan’s earlier works in ceramics on display and for sale. They are located at the back of the gallery so make sure you pop your head around the corner and check them out.

Salerno Gallery
70 Glebe Point Road
Glebe

Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Friday 10am – 5.30pm
Saturday 10am – 3pm

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