With their rounded edges and subtle detailing, Merilyn Wiseman’s Theme vessels show clearly the hand of the maker. Working from a single basic form, the artist individualises each work with delicate patterning and organic embellishments.
The majority of the vessels in Theme stand on feet arched over a void and the curved line of the base strives upwards with an energetic tension. The contrast between empty space and ceramic is mirrored along the top of each form, and the curves repeat on the sides, sweeping inwards to give each vessel a distinctive ‘waist’. This cinched silhouette is accentuated by the shapes Wiseman wraps around or adds onto the sides. In a visual paradox, it is the addition of extra material which enhances the illusion of constriction of both the ceramic and the space held within.
The four small vessels sitting flush on their bases feature rounded bellies that curve forward and suggest containment rather than constraint. The pod-like handles set on the upper rim balance the additional sense of weightiness of these pieces. Wiseman uses a matte glaze that complements the hand-formed shapes; the surface seems to absorb rather than reflect light, creating a soft richness of tone. Reminiscent of calligraphic strokes, the subtle ornamentation appears to have emerged from the depths of the bone-coloured porcelain.