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Through his ceramics, David Ray provides wry commentary on consumerism and the less celebrated aspects of contemporary society. Ray's interest in ceramics is informed by an awareness of its history as a medium for both mass-produced homewares and for rare and highly prized luxury objects. In this material's dual nature he finds a parable for the arbitrariness with which monetary and cultural value is ascribed. Beneath the flamboyant, decorative flourishes of Ray's ceramics lies a critique of the unevenly distributed wealth and privilege that notions of value enable. In Spectacle (2016), Ray turns his attention to celebrity culture and the hype surrounding professional sport. Taking as his starting point the AFL's Brownlow Medal ceremony, along with its attendant media hoopla, Ray has created an elaborate porcelain dinner setting that captures the flashy glamour of this 'night of nights'. Opulently ornamented and comically misshapen, Ray's tablewares are adorned with images sourced from the internet, applied to their surfaces as decals. The tureen in the centre of the setting is flanked by ceramic figures seated in armchairs, reminding us that this spectacle of celebrity is being served up not just for attendees of the awards ceremony, but also for audiences viewing the footage on TVs, tablets and smart phones; their passive, screen-based consumption ultimately driving the cycle of excess.

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  • Title: Spectacle (detail)
  • Creator: David Ray
  • Date Created: 2016
  • Physical Dimensions: 13 parts, dimensions variable
  • Rights: Courtesy of the artist
  • Medium: earthenware, enamel, gold and decals

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