This inaugural Emerging Practitioner in Clay Award $10,000 was established by the Rick Rudd Foundation owners of the Quartz Museum of Studio Ceramics in Wanganui. There are over 400 ceramic works on display at the gallery including Rick's own extensive collection. Works are also borrowed from private collections for themed and special exhibitions and each year ceramic installation is commissioned.
This enigmatic award-winning work could only have been made in the 21st century. In the genre which gained international prominence when Grayson Perry won the Turner Prize in 2003, the work of this practitioner is autobiographical.
The loosely made object is simply a canvas. Why is the vessel cut away? It reveals a figure inside. Is it the demon within? The theatrical figures on the exterior are interacting but it's not clear what they are doing or their relationships. The drawing is confident, lively and loosely executed (in keeping with the vessel itself).
Oliver brings his experience of painting and the theatre to his ceramics. He is someone who has been working with clay for less than two years yet demonstrates the potential to become a force in the medium in the future.
This epitomizes the reason for the Award being established.