Reviews

Our . The sense of belonging.

Like a page ripped out of a teenage diary Kerrie Ahern’s most recent work – Our . The sense of belonging gushes with honesty, telling of passion, romance and pain. On examination we learn of a journey of two lovers, what becomes of their meeting and the experiences of those left behind. There exist nods to familiar ceramic and cultural journeys, the iconic willow pattern, the Vessel 2007 as a vessel and the century’s old East/West link are intimately woven throughout. But her use of these is very gentile in their homage, a sprinkle of cobalt here and there, simple curving structures, lacings of silk and drops of lustre.

In fact the story is the girl, Kerrie Ahern. This is a very engaging exorcism of who she is. Ahern does not ply her trade with arrogance, nor does she indulge in highfaluting ceramic technique or jargon. This work has been and is forever growing, but although deeply considered and thoughtful on the face of these vessels we get the sense that they have literally been made on a Wednesday, fired on a Thursday and put on a plinth on Friday. This purposeful sense of ‘rush’ and ‘urgency’ is testament to Ahern’s willingness not to let this story and her translation of it grow tiresome. Far from being a criticism the series of Vessel 2007s ooze a rawness not restricted by practice, they are swamped in emotion and made with consummate integrity. Looking at I love you. I don’t know why, but I do, it does not pretend to be anything other than what it is; semi precious ribs of porcelain, sometimes terracotta, bearing aggressive and uncultivated puncture wounds that allow the Chinese silks to bind them together in the form of a Vessel 2007 allowing for flexibility and strength when laid at their final resting place. There is nothing dainty or delicate about these pots, they express themselves like Père Lachaise graves as opposed to the catacombs of Rome!

Ahern’s vessels are heavily functional. They are not selfish pieces; they transgress the individual and without question or accusation allow each one of us to look at our own path. Having interpreted her story with her own hands Ahern has taken ownership, she has carefully and beautifully placed her shared history, memories and dreams in these vessels, a place where she began and lives her journey. Clichéd as it may read one really senses this body of work is only the beginning, this exhibition being the first full-stop in an epic story.

Stephen Farnan, 2007