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88/1038 Sculpture, 'Ceramic Parcel', stoneware, Joan Grounds, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1972. Click to enlarge.

‘Ceramic Parcel’ sculpture by Joan Grounds

Made
Sculptural form, 'Ceramic Parcel', stoneware, Joan Grounds, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1972

Sculptural form, entitled 'Ceramic Parcel', hand built, of unglazed stoneware, rectangular section, in the form of a postal parcel, the shrinkage and deliberate cracks from firing revealing the outline of a teapot and 2 cups inside. Applied stamps to upper right hand corner, with screen printed colour images, of Sydney Opera House, a mob of sheep and 2 maps of Australia set vertically, each 'stamp' postmarked 'Nov 1972 Sydney NSW'. The upper left hand corner with senders name and address in cursive script 'From J. Grounds, c/o M. Grounds/School of Architecture/University of Sydney/2010/N.S.W.' with forwarding address 'To Powell Street Gallery/20 Powell Street/South Yarra/Victoria 3141'. 'FRAGILE' and symbols of fragility (broken cup) printed across front and back.
The reverse of the parcel with 'Attention/David CHAPMAN/catalogue Piece #2/[one tea set/1 teapot/2 cups]' and 'Attention Frank/Catalogue Piece #/one tea set/1 teapot/2 cups'.

Summary

Object No.

88/1038

Object Statement

Sculpture, 'Ceramic Parcel', stoneware, Joan Grounds, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1972

Physical Description

Sculptural form, 'Ceramic Parcel', stoneware, Joan Grounds, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1972

Sculptural form, entitled 'Ceramic Parcel', hand built, of unglazed stoneware, rectangular section, in the form of a postal parcel, the shrinkage and deliberate cracks from firing revealing the outline of a teapot and 2 cups inside. Applied stamps to upper right hand corner, with screen printed colour images, of Sydney Opera House, a mob of sheep and 2 maps of Australia set vertically, each 'stamp' postmarked 'Nov 1972 Sydney NSW'. The upper left hand corner with senders name and address in cursive script 'From J. Grounds, c/o M. Grounds/School of Architecture/University of Sydney/2010/N.S.W.' with forwarding address 'To Powell Street Gallery/20 Powell Street/South Yarra/Victoria 3141'. 'FRAGILE' and symbols of fragility (broken cup) printed across front and back.
The reverse of the parcel with 'Attention/David CHAPMAN/catalogue Piece #2/[one tea set/1 teapot/2 cups]' and 'Attention Frank/Catalogue Piece #/one tea set/1 teapot/2 cups'.

Marks

Each 'stamp' postmarked 'Nov 1972 Sydney NSW'
The upper left hand corner with senders name and address in cursive script 'From J. Grounds, c/o M. Grounds/School of Architecture/University of Sydney/2010/N.S.W.' with forwarding address 'To Powell Street Gallery/20 Powell Street/South Yarra/Victoria 3141'. 'FRAGILE'
The reverse of the parcel with 'Attention/David CHAPMAN/catalogue Piece #2/[one tea set/1 teapot/2 cups]' and 'Attention Frank/Catalogue Piece #/one tea set/1 teapot/2 cups'

Dimensions

Height

330 mm

Width

360 mm

Depth

145 mm

Production

Notes

Joan Grounds (b.1939) trained in sculpture and ceramics with Peter Voulkos in the USA in the mid-1960s. After two years in Africa she arrived in Australia in 1968. She started teaching at East Sydney Technical Collage (with Peter Rushforth) and also worked at the Tin Sheds, Sydney University when they set up in 1969.
Grounds has only one static, at Watters Gallery in 1972 (and Powell Street Gallery, Melbourne immediately following this). The ceramic parcel is one of the later works in this show, and was also exhibited at Powell Street.
Grounds' other temporal works reflects a 'reaction, against the male monuments of Abstract Expressionism', as well as influences from her time in Africa and an interest in contemporary dance of the time (through a subscription to Village Voice).
In contrast, the ceramic works were to do with an investigation of the nature of 'function' in ceramics, endorsed by Rushforth. Rushforth and Grounds held opposing views, but Grounds 'respected Rushforth's deliberate efforts to employ those working from different positions'. The works started as cups stuck on boxes, with transformation from 3D to 2D. One, in the form of a letter, was sent to a friend, then others similar were made. These were followed by about 20 parcels each with functional ceramics inside. The 'wrapping' shrank in the firing process to reveal the shapes inside.
Grounds does not consider this work as 'funk'. It was both an investigation into the nature of functional ceramics, and a vehicle for social comment. Some parcels dealt with issues such as a recent obscenity case, or the Australian purchase of F1/11s which were screen printed onto the stamps.
Grounds thinks she may have been the first ceramic artist in Australia to use screen printing on ceramics. This came about through her involvement at the Tin Sheds whee she and her students set up a photographic darkroom.

History

Notes

Exhibited at Watters Gallery in Sydney and Powell Street Gallery in Victoria.

Source

Credit Line

Purchased 1988

Acquisition Date

16 November 1988

Cite this Object

Harvard

'Ceramic Parcel' sculpture by Joan Grounds 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 26 October 2020, <https://ma.as/81461>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/81461 |title='Ceramic Parcel' sculpture by Joan Grounds |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=26 October 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Incomplete

This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.