Monday, July 13, 2015

Janet DeBoos in conversation with the Canberra Critics Circle

JANET  DeBoos is a highly acclaimed ceramic artist and educator.  
Janet DeBoos

After ten years as Head of the ANU School of Art ceramic work shop she has retired and is now an Emeritus Fellow at the School of Art, ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences.  Janet De Boos was the Master of Ceremonies at "Stepping Up", the Australian Ceramics Triennial that was held recently in Canberra (9-11 July) with associated exhibitions running during the month of July and August. Janet had a highly successful exhibition of her work in the ANU Canberra School of Art Gallery last year and was awarded a Canberra Critics’ Circle Visual Art Award in 2014.  She also had a Survey Exhibition at Craft ACT in July this year.
Janet answered questions from the circle about the nature of ceramics, which she defined as fired clay. Pottery, she added, is what you do with it. She also noted the development of cutting edge ceramics which involved performance and Installation work and artists who questioned the permanence of clay by making forms that dissolve over time.
Janet discussed her own career and the part played by Peter Rushforth in suggesting she study pottery at the old East Sydney Technical College. Janet originally studied science but was always drawn to the creative arts. (Incidentally, the Canberra Critics Circle might like to know that Peter Rushforth was awarded a special honour at the 2015 “Stepping Up” conference dinner.)

Recent works by Janet DeBoos

The discussion then centred on the nature of ceramics- the importance of the handmade and functional pottery. The history of porcelain was then discussed and Janet’s own ongoing links with Jingdezhen the porcelain capital of China  and the influence on her own work of her Asian experience. (Janet has also inaugurated biannual trips to Jingdezhen by ANU ceramic students.) Janet also talked about her connection with indigenous artists from Ernabella Arts in South Australia and the cross cultural links that have been at play in their work and her own.
 This was a very interesting and informative talk and I hope the Canberra Critics Circle will seek out Janet DeBoos’ work for themselves.
Kerry-Anne Cousins, member  of Canberra Critics Circle, July  13 2015.