Installation view of Caro Pattle’s work <em>Soft pipes, play on</em> 2022 (left) and Kate Jones’s work <em>Hekataea</em> 2022 (right) on display as part of the <em>Melbourne Now</em> exhibition at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne from 24 March – 20 August 2023. Image: Tom Ross

Kate Jones

Kate Jones
(b. 1966, Melbourne. Lives and works in Melbourne)

Kate Jones’s practice is grounded in clay. Her output ranges from her characteristic painterly sculptural forms to pots designed to last a lifetime. Also informing and supporting her artistic work is a broader practice including research, writing, curating and teaching.

Hekataea, 2022, is a duo of vessels with a range of influences – from Walt Whitman to Anne Carson to Gaston Bachelard – expanding on the artist’s recent explorations into poetics, politics and the practicalities of matter. The large-scale, slab-built ceramic forms that Jones has become known for are the canvases for her idiosyncratic style of slips and glazes. Jones breaks down each vessel with washes of colour and light, at times giving them a dark and even menacing solidity.

As the artist explains:

Women are often seen as ‘vessels’, for the pleasure of men, for bearing children, and for milk. There is a particularity in the way our bodies can be used by others that creates a tendency toward objectification. Descriptions of the qualities of women, and their usefulness as vessels, tend toward a simplistic categorisation of good and bad.

Jones was inspired by the Greek goddess Heate for this work, and the hekataea, or ‘children of Hekate’, which are themselves vessels created to contain the power of Hekate and make it available as protection in the form of pillars at points of ambiguity, such as a crossroads.

Jones completed a Diploma of Arts (Ceramics) at Box Hill Institute of TAFE in 2011 and a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) (Honours) at RMIT University in 2014. She is currently president of the Australian Ceramics Association and director of the Australian Ceramics Triennale. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery, Craft and Sofitel Melbourne. Her work is held in the collections of Bendigo Art Gallery and Gippsland Art Gallery.