The far wall of the gallery is dedicated to a selection from Kent’s 100 Days of Em series. The project involved drawing her friend for 100 consecutive days. The experiment was not to measure progress in skill but to achieve different results from the variables life offers with each day. Depending on the artist’s energy, the sitter’s mood and the time available, a new side to Em is captured in ink. Drawn from life or photos taken that day, the portrait series holds a an impressive emotional range. Kent lovingly captures Em’s pensive stares one day and her self-deprecating silliness the next.
Kent translates her sketches of noses and mouths into charming ceramic pots. Each has its own character conveyed through size and exaggerated facial features. Unlike her monochromatic drawings, Kent adds colour to her sculptures by dipping the ceramics in glaze and then fired. This technique allows the glaze to decide where to fall and highlights the face’s asperous topography. Succulents grow from selected ceramics. These potted plants add dimension to the expressive sculptures, as if we can see the grumpy nose pots’ thoughts.
Alongside her greeting cards and teacup-sized nose pots, the exhibit offers a glimpse behind the scenes by sharing a portfolio of of portraits and style experiments. Kent studied at the Learning Connection: School of Creativity and Art which fostered her love for sculpture and illustration. It’s hard to believe Kent has been practising pottery for just one year.
Kent’s joy of portraiture is present in her work. The enchantment in Kent’s feature studies lies in the way she catches her subject between expressions. The ink drawing Lewis, which focuses on a loud, open mouth, could be read as a yawn or a scream. She explores the volatile masks our emotions display. She highlights the extraordinary emotions that ordinary features evoke.
Kent’s charismatic collection invites you to celebrate expressions while the works review and scrutinise you back. You can visit Expressive Features: The Nose Knows at Thistle Hall, 293 Cuba St from 10am-6pm until Sunday May 13th. You can also check out her artwork on Instagram @celiakentartist