For her Sydney Contemporary debut with James Makin Gallery, Sally Walk presents a Perfection Flawed – a series of bold, ceramic sculptures. Walk’s work often teeters on the edge: unbalanced, uneasy and restless; it is focused on the command of ceramic techniques, which Walk pushes to its limits. What emerges is conceptual and poetic, anchored in the materiality of clay, and offering multiple and open-ended narratives relating to perfection and precarity.
The perfect imperfection of being human is a fascination of Sally Walk’s. Can a drive for perfection ever be achieved when it is such a subjective concept: what others deem perfect might not be perfect to another, and what we see as imperfect in ourselves – or our lives – may be somebody else’s aspiration. For Walk the concept of imperfection is the interesting part of life, but still perfection is something she has trouble letting go of. Perfection holds a powerful place in the contemporary psyche.
For this reason, there is always a sense of order and symmetry in Walk’s sculptures, despite the wild experimentation with the limits of ceramic possibilities. Her work is technically precise, which prior to the addition of surface decorations can seem almost perfect. These are then carved into with freehand patterns, textures and undulating shapes that shift the veneer of perfection and push her work to the edge. They are no longer perfect, yet in the imperfection beauty is found. For Walk this is a challenging, yet liberating process.
Sally Walk is a Melbourne based ceramicist who has been working in clay for over 25 years. She has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. Most recently at Taoxichuan in Jingdezhen China. In 2015 she was awarded the Lorenzo il Magnifico Award for Ceramics at the Florence Biennale. Her work is held in private and public institutions internationally including the Chen Ceng Ceramics Museum (China) and the Seto Cultural Glass and Ceramics Museum in Seto (Japan). Walk is also a member of the UNESCO International Academy of Ceramics (IAC).