Exhibition | Delinquent Angel: John Perceval’s Ceramic Angels | Shepparton Art Museum


John Perceval Listening angel c. 1957 Melbourne glazed ceramic 32.5 x 22.7 x 20.9 cm Australian War Memorial ART90099 Image courtesy the Australian War Memorial © The Estate of John Perceval

The exhibition Delinquent Angel: John Perceval’s ceramic angels is on at Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) until 24 November 2014.

John Perceval AO is one of Australia’s most celebrated and loved artists renowned for his radicalism, expressiveness and prolific output, along with his complex personal life. As a member of the Angry Penguins avante-garde movement that began in the 1940s, Perceval joined with other Australian art luminaries Arthur Boyd, Albert Tucker, Sidney Nolan, Danila Vassilieff and Joy Hester to rail against the insular conservatism of Australian society and push for new voices and modes of expression.

Perceval is largely known for his painting practice, however from 1957–1962, during what is considered to be one of his most creative periods, Perceval produced a series of ceramic angel sculptures as a result of his involvement with Arthur Merric-Boyd’s pottery studio at Murumbeena. Perceval’s ceramic angels are often an over-looked aspect of his oeuvre despite their technical and conceptual sophistication, humour and beguiling charm. Perceval created more than 70 ceramic angels that range from self-portraits and tributes to friends and family, to figures that illustrate allegorical stories and comment on the threat of nuclear weaponry.

The exhibition brings together approximately 40 of John Perceval’s ceramic angels from major public and private collections across Australia, including the Australian War Memorial, Canberra; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne; Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; and the Shepparton Art Museum. The exhibition will explore the themes of the angels and examine their place within John Perceval’s artistic practice and world-at-large as a father, friend, and avante-garde member of society in conservative 1950s and ’60s Australia.

An essay on the angels by Damian Smith, Delinquent Angel: John Perceval’s ceramic angels, is available to read on the exhibition blog www.percevalsangels.com where you can also find images of the angels, interviews, guest blog entries and education resources.

Details of floor talks and other associated events can be found on the SAM website http://www.sheppartonartmuseum.com.au/programsandevents/

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