Wielding the dining table, as a weapon in one’s social arsenal, rose to prominence in 18th century Europe. The rapacious growth of Empires brought to the tables of an oh so few an abundance of fruits and just so much silver and gold. That most exotic of fruits, the Brazilian Pineapple, ushered to Europe by the Portuguese and Spanish – and grown only in greenhouses – came to represent the epidemy of wealth, taste, & hospitality. Hostesses would hang pineapples outside their homes to perfume the entryway and make welcome guests. To this day, we carve pineapples on balustrades, position stone pineapples outside our houses and ceramics or tin pineapples in our dining rooms as a symbol of welcoming.
For centuries now, the table – that place we eat on and meet around – has been so much more than a food station. Today, in a more relaxed but possibly no less anxious world, the tablescape continues to represent the personality of the host and the society we are comfortable to inhabit. With The Australian Country Table, my colleagues and I asked a cohort of leading painters and ceramicists to depict their kitchens and dining rooms – real or imaginary, as the creative social engine room of a home.
The artists exhibiting in The Australian Country Table have been asked to depict the dining room with a sense of occasion. A space for gatherings; a communal table as an outlet for creativity and great individual style. In essence, an Australian Country Style.
The ceramicists participating in The Australian Country Table, have for the occasion created entire table settings. Handmade homewares, with the marker’s mark so visibly on view have moved this year’s exhibition into the 3rd dimension. Through their talented endeavours, my colleagues and I were able to curate a real and imagined Australian dining experience. Above all, the painters and ceramicists on view in The Australian Country Table, make you yearn for a social occasion and in our time as ever was, that remains a good thing.
Featuring ceramic dining sets from: