AUSTRALIAN DECORATIVE ARTS
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Milang, South Australia, Australia born 1950
Sea of grass
Cherryville, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Decorative Arts and Design, Ceramic, stoneware, glazed
52.0 h x 67.0 w x 19.0 d cm
Gift of Susan Armitage 2011
Accession No: NGA 2011.970
Jeff Mincham, one of Australia’s most experienced ceramicists, was born in 1950 in Milang in South Australia and grew up in the state’s Coorong wetlands region. He has pursued the subject of the South Australian landscape throughout his career, continually returning to the environment of his youth. This has engendered in him an enduring respect for its visual spectacle and subtle ecology, qualities he interprets though the demanding physicality of ceramics and the rigorous discipline required to explore its potential for poetic expression.
Mincham taught ceramics at the South Australian School of Art from 1975 to 1978 and was head of the ceramics workshop at the Jam Factory in Adelaide from 1979 to 1983 before becoming a full‑time potter in his Cherryville studio.
Working initially through the intuitive process of the Japanese raku technique of firing, Mincham developed techniques of multiple firing within the range of earthenware kiln temperatures. These techniques allow him to build up glazes into characteristic colour orchestrations on the sculptural surfaces of his large vessel forms.
Sea of grass is a powerful work showing Mincham’s strong development of abstract landscape imagery and his memory of the Coorong’s windswept grasses. The glaze emphasises its sculpted and textured surface, which is a development of the freehand sgraffito surface design of his earlier work. In its calm stance and saturated colour, this work is a contemporary interpretation of green-glazed Japanese Oribe wares. Its form and surface, however, are strongly articulated continuations of the structural and visual narrative themes that Mincham has pursued in his ceramics for three decades.
Robert Bell AMSenior Curator, Decorative Arts and Design
in artonview, issue 71, Spring 2012