Australian Banksia flowers have a fruiting cone in which seeds are stored for regeneration, usually after bushfire. Juz Kitson’s new body of work creates connections with the evolutionary relationships between plants, fire and regeneration. Kitson’s sculptural forms often activate thoughts of extinction and discovery, endangered species and excrescent shapes. Her work is an imaginary of strange life, grounded in knowable forms but alchemised, via her firing kilns, into new varieties of older archetypal patterns in nature.
In this new work, there are some blackened works (installed in a fireplace or as part of a horizontal Wunderkammer) made from Indonesian Raku saggar-fired clay. This process comprises carbon being trapped in the body of the clay specimens. A natural environmental reading relates, of course, to our earthly surface of trees, the tender and necessary means of trapping carbon for the health of all life. Plants are the backbone of all ecosystems and Kitson’s new work attests to that critical concept. In several of her works, flowers morph into aortas into penis-udders into seaweed. This morphing of human and non-human parts does two things. It removes unhelpful gender-siloes, and it directs our attention to the fragility of our nature systems.
Many of Kitson’s forms are seaweed-like. Crayweed, anemones, coralline algae, seagrasses are in abundance, too fictionalised to be identifiable. All vegetal life began in the oceans, in an evolutionary sense. From there, the first terrain plants crept up the foreshore beaches and crawled onto the rock platforms, to germinate into the plant and tree life we know today. Kitson taps into these ‘Long Now’ changes with alluring materiality.
Pink bits, hydrangeas, emu eggs, furry extrusions, extinct horns, labia, white cocks, black seed pods and mother-of-pearl eggs: her works are sensual and sexualised. These mythical sculptural works, made from Jingdezhen porcelain, wild goat hide, reindeer hair and glass, create a mixture of repulsion and desire: the perfect sublime combination.
- Prudence Gibson, 2017
Juz Kitson lures the viewer through her use of exquisitely crafted objects made from porcelain, glass, textiles, and fur. These seductive materials depict visceral and abject elements of life, sex, and death.
Kitson graduated from The National Art School, Sydney, in 2009. She has exhibited regularly both nationally and internationally. Since 2011 she has been based between Jingdezhen China the Ancient Porcelain city and regional New South Wales. Solo exhibitions include Art Stage Singapore (Platform with GAGPROJECTS); London Art Fair Project Space; GAGPROJECTS; Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane; and Zero Art Centre in 798 Art district, Beijing. In 2013 she was included in Primavera, MCA, Sydney and Magic Object: Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art 2016, Art Gallery of South Australia. Since 2011, she has undertaken residencies at the Tshingua University Academy of Art and Design, Beijing; the Bundanon Residency, Arthur Boyd Trust; and Bathurst Regional Art Gallery Hill End Residencies.
Collections include Museum of Old and New (MONA), Art Gallery of South Australia, Artbank, The Western Plains Cultural Centre, RMIT University collection, Shepparton Art Museum, Gold Coast City Gallery, and Bathurst Regional Art Gallery