NAS Retake: Juz Kitson
Juz Kitson completed a Bachelor of Fine Art (Hons in Ceramics) in 2009. She now divides her time living between Jingdezhen, a city that is said to produce the highest quality porcelain in China, and her studio in Milton on the south coast of New South Wales.
Her ceramic sculptures reveal a fascination with feminine and masculine ambiguous forms and the sensuality of materials. They invariably reference human and animal parts in uncanny and fluid combinations. Informed by the traditional Chinese techniques of moulding, slip casting and glaze firing, her use of the highly refined Southern Ice porcelain, her graceful and elegant palette, soft hues and high gloss porcelain creates a friction posed by fleshy, sexual, bodily subject matter.
Juz Kitson’s work Naked Simplicity conceptually draws on two texts that are at the core of Kitson’s practice. The first, Julia Kristeva’s essay Power of Horror, explores the theories of Freud and Lacan to examine horror, castration, the phallic signifier and other concepts of feminist criticism. The second book, Sogyal Rinpoche’s The Tibetan book of Living and Dying, guides its user through the vision of life and death underlying the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Both these texts offer an outlook on the idea of abjection.
In Naked Simplicity, the objects no longer represent parts of an internal body; having been ‘cast off’, they represent emotion and the human condition. They are soft, tender and inviting, yet possibly dangerous and threatening. They are luscious and satisfying, but also abnormal and obscene. Classical in symmetry and powerful without words, these forms hold their presence in any given space.
Kitson’s use of Southern Ice porcelain also links to the work of ceramicist Les Blakebrough. His piece Three Tilted Bowls is made from the same material and was acquired by the National Art School in 2018.
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Image: Juz Kitson, Naked Simplicity; radiant with the warmth of an immense compassion, 2016, Southern Ice porcelain, Jingdezhen porcelain, Merino wool, horse hair, paraffin wax, marine ply and treated pine, 130 x 65 x 33 cm, National Art School Collection, donated via the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by the artist, 2018 © the artist