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Peter Thompson – Ceramics and the Source of Self Exhibition

Tue 18 January 2022 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 9:00 am on Saturday, repeating until Sun March 6, 2022

An event every week that begins at 10:00 am on Sunday, repeating until Sun March 6, 2022

An event every week that begins at 9:00 am on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, repeating until Sun March 6, 2022

One event on Sat December 11, 2021 at 2:00 pm

Peter Thompson – Ceramics and the Source of Self Exhibition at Cairns Art Gallery

Event by Cairns Art Gallery.


Peter Thompson is an experimenter and innovator, a ceramicist whose functional ware, sculptural vessels and figurative sculptures incorporate local raw materials sourced from Kuranda in the hinterland of Cairns. Whether utilitarian or decorative each of his works demonstrates a depth of consideration for form, function, and historical precedents.


Over a period spanning almost five decades, Thompson has created a remarkable body of work that sits at the cutting edge of contemporary Australian ceramics. He has been described as a ‘bare foot philosopher, a passionate scholar, and a witty social commentator, not shy to confront, amuse or make one pause in contemplation’.


Born in 1945, Thompson grew up in Sydney before moving to the tropical rainforests of far north Queensland in 1976. His intimate connection with the elements and his love for nature are evident in all aspects of his life and works. He studied ceramics at the National Art School in Sydney before completing a Graduate Diploma at Monash University. In 1995 he studied at Nanjing University where he had access to some of the finest forms of high fired porcelain that was invented over three thousand years ago. All these experiences combined his innate quest for exploring abstracted form and line with themes based on both Occidental and Oriental historical roots.


In his writings about the life and work of Peter Thompson, Ian Whittaker describes ‘Five Treasures’, the pottery workshop Thompson built in Kuranda, which was inspired by the five elements of Taoist philosophy – earth, wind, fire, water and the void. Whittaker comments that the luscious rainforest setting was a place in which Thompson could ‘indulge his enthusiasm for native fauna and flora, while having space to experiment with kiln designs and firing techniques. Above all else it allowed him to live a reclusive lifestyle where he could focus on philosophy and creativity’.


The result, says Whittaker, has been a prolific output of pots, figurines, sculpture and artefacts that draw strongly on a range of important international traditions, but which are reframed as unique, very contemporary and very Australian.


Exhibition Runs: 11th December to 6th March 2022


Cost: Free Entry.


Exhibition Opening Event – Saturday December 11th – 2.00pm to 4.00pm

Celebrate the work of innovative ceramicist Peter Thompson in a casual opening event with the artist, exhibition curator Kylie Burke and fellow ceramicist Ian Whittaker. Thompson’s exhibition Ceramics and the Source of Self is an impressive collection of works which give an insight into the work of this ‘bare foot philospher’ who has lived and worked in the tropical rainforest of North Queensland for almost five decades.
Limited space exists to attend this function and RSVPs through the Cairns Art Gallery Website are essential.


Image: Peter Thompson ‘Five Treasures’ Studio, Kuranda. Photo: Kylie Burke, Curator, Cairns Art Gallery




Tue 18 January 2022
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Cairns Art Gallery
07 4046 4800
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Cairns Art Gallery
40 Abbott St
Cairns, Queensland 4870 Australia
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