Sierra McManus graduated from the National Art School in 2002 with a major in painting. In 2016, on returning to the Bega Valley with its rich community of potters, her focus shifted to clay and her paintings took a new form. Using underglaze and oxides in place of watercolour and oils, her work now wrapped around her hand built functional and sculptural ceramic pieces. Having previously exhibited with Michael Reid’s Northern Beaches and Murrurundi Galleries, this is her first collection to be shown in the Southern Highlands.
Of the collection of vessels that make up ‘Matter & Memory’, Sierra says; “These vases are built from blended and reclaimed clays, each unique combination yielding its own form. The forms are painted with patterns, in iron oxide and underglaze, interpreted from cloths draped over chairs or hanging or lying about the studio. A vintage bed sheet sent to Phoebe from a friend in Tasmania or a curtain Melody had hung at Violet Hill. The patterns wrap themselves around the vase forms, bend and distort. In the end or where the pattern meets or a seam forms, the motifs confront themselves and a new pattern emerges. Recognition’s sparked – childhood sheets faded and flapping on the hills hoist, some special cloth folded away in a dark cupboard or a once loved shirt worn to exhaustion repurposed as ties to hold a tomato plant to its stake. Holding some common nostalgia, memories unfold invigorating new purpose.” – Sierra McManus 2023