Multi facetted Suvira McDonald is an award-winning Australian artist who may be found working in the forested hinterland of Byron Shire in northern NSW, Australia. His portfolio comprises two main threads of work, Ceramics and Sculpture. The contemporary ceramic art constantly finds new modes of expression; in his hands clay takes myriad forms. The large elemental constructed forms that find placement as garden sculpture, his unique ceramic landscapes, functional ceramics such as urns, platters, vases and the everyday coffee mug find uncommon form and excellence in his ceramic studio. His contemporary ceramic art has been acquired into many collections, private, public and corporate, in Australia and internationally.
His practice has been influenced and shaped by enquiry into the spiritual traditions of the Orient and various indigenous cultures: he found art and spirituality integrated into culture in these contexts, something amiss in our contemporary western society. Similarly Suvira is inspired by the natural elements in play surrounding his rainforest studio in Australia and realises an interplay of those cultural/spiritual influences with nature. His work has a distinct landscape reference whether the medium is ceramic, steel or other metals. The most overt landscape references are contained in his wall mounted ceramic panels, pieces which initially evolved from the artist's extensive studies in the field through photography and drawing, augmented by references to earth science, and various schools of landscape painting including the Heidelberg School of Painting, the screen painters of medieval Japan. These influences have been translated into ceramic language through his familiarity with the glaze science of the Sung Dynasty Chinese potters and his own glaze research over several decades. This eclectic set of influences all indicate his strong affinity with land and a connection with its underlying spirit. These highly original ceramic landscape panels appear as floating on the wall. See the Ceramics (landscape) Galleries.
In other areas of research Suvira McDonald is concerned with the production of contemporary ceramic sculpture. His work in this genre are often assemblages of multiple components with very richly encrusted surface textures evocative of ancient cultural symbols. Free standing pieces, which can also materialise as vessels, again reflect the landscape influence and and introduce a new reference, scholars rocks or gongshi, a traditional Chinese and Japanese art form. The Ceramics (sculpture) Gallery shows examples.
Functional ceramics is another genre within the ceramic medium Suvira continues to investigate. Discussing the contemporary vessel and its place in daily domestic rituals and special occasions is of particular interest and is central to the creation of the learning environment he creates for students. Examples of Suvira's tableware can be found in galleries of the Northern Rivers of NSW, and in the Ceramics (tableware) Gallery here on site. Funerary wares are also viewable there as he has produced a range of urns for ashes as well as memorials.
In the Sculpture (steel & assemblage) Gallery you can find recent explorations in metal. Impressions of the landscape which have initiated a progressional unfolding of spiralling steel rods has in turn produced a series of award winning pieces.
Placemaking is a name given to the broad activity of artfully producing public places. It integrates art into our built landscape, therefore producing cultural markers in those environments. Encompassing Public Art, placemaking represents an interface of art with architecture, a domain where architects, landscape designers and artists meet. The public art of Suvira McDonald enhances such places as corporate foyers and public parks. He has a proven ability to respond well in the commissioning process. Some public and corporate art works are for viewing in the Sculpture (public art) Gallery