Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On the Island

A fortnight ago we crossed Bass Strait.

For half an hour the plane looks down at the surface of the sea and that is all. Sometimes a cloud passes.It is landscape enough. Then seemingly suddenly it noses down and follows the river into Hobart. Such a short flight but momentous - leaving the mainland. 

Our friend, studio potter, Jane Sawyer, had been shortlisted for a major ceramics prize in Tasmania and a group of us assembled to see her work and marvel. 

Her pots embody her seriousness as well as her warmth. They engage the heart and fix in the mind - each a love letter and a lesson and an argument for beauty. Her collection River Reflections refers to the shape of her home farm. Her reference points are specific and finely observed. They are a nod to old geology and geriatric trees. But they are universal.

Truth and beauty. Beauty and truth - they can be applied as inarguably as mathematics.

Seeing the work in the gallery, we then saw it everywhere outdoors. We saw it in cloud shapes, in dark water, reflected from windows, in beach stones and sea glass and in each other.

Hobart is sombre and beautiful too. It put on its best weather for us. We ate good food, talked about politics and art, tasted local honeycomb, walked up and down steep hills and mooched in bookshops. What could be finer?

It is the pots that will stay with me though - as a lesson and a preoccupation.