gaglogo               © 2012

Angela Valamanesh


“The practice of building groups or arrangements has existed in my work for a number of years now and their linear qualities still remind me of the way letters form words or sentences on a page. Also in this more recent work the reference to the way specimens in collections are often presented to us is perhaps relevant.”

(excerpt from artist statement, 2007)

Works chronology  
CERAMICS 2002 works 2005 Animal Vegetable Mineral 2007 All Creatures 2009 A Little Bit Of Everything 2010 A Little Bit Of Everything 2010 works 2015  
Almost human, Artist Statement, 2015

Almost human:

‘Art, philosophy, and science each erect a plane, a sieve, over chaos, a historicotemporal and mutually referential field of inter- acting artworks, concepts, and experiments (respectively), not to order or control chaos but to contain some of its fragments in some small space (a discourse, a work of art, an experiment), to reduce it to some form that the living can utilize without being completely overwhelmed.

- Grosz, Elizabeth, 2008, Chaos, Territory, Art. Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth, Columbia
University Press, Pg 28

The various works in Almost human began with my observations and drawings from an anatomical textbook for medical students.  Later I branched off into the field of comparative anatomy and detoured into the province of early scientific illustration made using microscopes.  These collected observations have become a deep pool of imagery that I can draw upon.  

I like the idea of fishing in relation to making art - perhaps it’s like the sieve that Elizabeth Grosz alludes to - not knowing what fragment I’ll catch and being surprised sometimes. 

Angela Valamanesh, February 2015

Artist Statement, 2012

Once again my work takes its cue from scientific illustration, in particular the world of the microscopic.  Airborne, 2011, is based on images of pollen grains.  Seemingly infinite in their variety, each flowering plant requiring pollination by a specific grain, they were first observed and illustrated with the aid of a microscope in the 1600’s by botanists such as Nehemiah Grew.  Ferdinand Bauer’s more recent watercolours painted in the mid 1800’s are, like Grew’s images, still recognisable as the same material portrayed with the use of today’s electron microscope.

In Airborne the cavity formed by plaster casting of a solid form acknowledges transience and loss, impermanence.  Every living flowering plant has had a different pollen grain and the study of extinct flora includes the study of fossilised pollen grains, paleopalynology.  With this in mind I set about making a visual representation of a minute fraction of the invisible material surrounding us:  the world in which we are embedded.

Apart from pollen grains, the other microscopic material represented in this exhibition is the parasite.  Again, of startling variety, and offcourse not always microscopic, parasites, both plant and animal, according to ABC Radio National’s Natasha Mitchell of All in the Mind constitute half of life on earth.  We need some parasites, although not all, and probably not those that manipulate the behaviour of their hosts by co-opting their brains. 

The Earthly garden series with its combination of ceramic and watercolour on paper again relies on the transformation of scientific illustration.  Echoing the phenomenon of collecting, naming, describing, ordering and classifying, ultimately an impossible task when one takes into account the predominance of microscopic life around us and the extinction of many life-forms,the works take the form of poetic distillations.

Angela Valamanesh, April 2012

Artist Statement, 2010

'There is no science without fancy, and no art without fact.' Vladimir Nabokov

The works for this exhibition are all drawn from images of microscopic life, most of which come from early scientific illustration, from sources such as the Barr Smith Library’s Special Collection. Some are more clearly identifiable than others. I am interested in the interconnectedness of life and the potential of a union between science and poetry, the rational and the irrational, formal and symbolic.

A little bit of everything, an on-going series, is perhaps more directly related to rare book collections. Apart from the text and images contained within the early publications, the physical quality of the paper, often slightly buckled and dotted with age spots, like old skin, is fascinating. Watercolour on paper is a completely different process than making objects from clay but there are some similarities such as the transformation of material from wet to dry and the surprises that arise due to the unpredictable qualities of both materials.

Angela Valamanesh

Artist Statement, 2007

'The series ‘Animal, Vegetable, Mineral’ 2007 grew from my observations of human anatomy as presented in medical and anatomical atlases that depict views of our bodies not normally seen by us. I became interested in how little we know of our bodies and how visually similar some of our body parts are to plants: root vegetables or cauliflowers!

Anatomical studies have been used extensively by artists over the years especially as reference points for figurative sculpture and portrait painting but early anatomists also made three dimensional wax models of body parts as teaching aids and these surprisingly durable and beautiful objects have also been inspirational.

More recently the imagery in my work has included enlargements of microscopic organisms. The work usually begins with what I think is an interesting image, sometimes developed from a drawing or photograph to a three dimensional form and scale which feels right. Often this will suggest the next object and a sequence is usually configured before all the finished pieces are in place.

The practice of building groups or arrangements has existed in my work for a number of years now and their linear qualities still remind me of the way letters form words or sentences on a page. Also in this more recent work the reference to the way
specimens in collections are often presented to us is perhaps relevant.

Somehow the use of clay as the media for constructing these forms feels appropriate to the subject matter, something to do with it being such a common material that we are all connected to.

Angela Valamanesh, July 2007

· Almost human, Artist Statement, 2015
[essays should not be reproduced without permission from the authors]
1953 Born in Port Pirie, South Australia Angela Valamanesh
1977 Diploma in Design (Ceramics), SA School of Art, University of South Australia
1992-3 MA Visual Arts, SA School of Art, University of South Australia
MFA Program, Glasgow School of Art, UK

Artist in Residence, Sydney Grammar School, Sydney

2006 Artist in Residence, Canberra School of Art, Australian National University, Canberra

Presently living and working in Adelaide, South Australia

2015 GAGPROJECTS, Adelaide
2014 Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne
2013 Breenspace, Sydney
2012 Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
2011 Earthly Garden, Grantpirrie Gallery, Sydney
Art Vault, Mildura
2010 A little bit of everything, Greenaway Art Gallery, SA
A little bit of everything, Barr Smith Library, University of Adelaide
2009 Gallerie Johan S., Helsinki
All Creatures: works from
Natural history collection, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
2008 Natural Histories, Helen Stephens Gallery, Sydney
Turner Galleries, Perth

Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide


Been here and gone, Gallery 2, Jam Factory, Adelaide

2004 Sherman Galleries, Sydney
2003 Bett Gallery, Hobart
2002 Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide

About being here, Sherman Galleries, Hargrave, Sydney

1999 National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan (Asialink)
1997 Newberry Gallery, Glasgow School of Art, UK
1996 Calculations, Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Adelaide
In remembrance of things.
..., Jam Factory Gallery, Adelaide

Birds Have Fled, University of South Australia, Art Museum, Adelaide
A bowl is a bowl is a bowl...., Jam Factory Gallery, Adelaide

2014 Florabotanica, Adelaide Central School of Art Gallery
The Microscope Project, Flinders Art Museum, Adelaide
2013 Heartlands, Contemporary Art from South Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia
2012 On Collaborations, Breenspace, Sydney
2011 Imagining interiors, Jam Factory, Adelaide
A Verdant Heart, Hawkesbury Regional Gallery     
2010 Heartlines, University of South Australia, South Australian School of Art Gallery
Abstract Nature, Samstag Museum, University of South Australia
, RiAus, Science Exchange, Adelaide
New New,
Contemporary Art Centre, Barr Smith Library, Adelaide University

Bravura, 21st century Australian Craft, Art Gallery of SA
Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney
this life,
Contemporary Art Centre of SA
, Museum of Economic Botany, Adelaide Botanic Gardens, Adelaide


Sidney Myer Fund International Ceramics Award, Shepparton Art Gallery, NSW
City of Hobart Art Prize 2008, Tasmania
Narratives, Sabbia Gallery, Sydney
Gold Coast Ceramic Award, Queensland
Strange Attractors, Liverpool Street Gallery, Adelaide
Redlands Art Prize, Sydney


There Forever, Port Adelaide, South Australia
Cup Show, Helen Stephens Gallery, Sydney
South Australian Ceramics Award, Adelaide Central Gallery, Adelaide


Bowl, Khai Liew Design, Adelaide
Surface: given the text, SA School of Art Gallery, University of South Australia, Adelaide


South Australian Ceramics Award, Adelaide Central Gallery, Adelaide


Future Function, Manly Art Gallery & Museum, Sydney
Ceramics: Australian & New Zealand, Campbelltown City Art Gallery, NSW
Still Life, Anna Bibby Gallery, Auckland, NZ


Ritual of Tea, Contemporary ceramics& metal, Jam Factory Gallery, Adelaide
Less is more/Less is bore, Brisbane City Gallery, Queensland


International Ceramics 2, Sybaris Gallery, Michigan, USA
Orbit, University of South Australia Art Museum, Adelaide


Chemistry: Art in South Australia, 1990-2000, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide


Contemporary International Ceramics, The Sybaris Gallery, Michigan, USA
Landing, works from the collection, Contemporary Art Centre of SA, Adelaide


Art of Craft, travelling exhibition, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide


Pugmill Award exhibition, Jam Factory Gallery, Adelaide

2015 SALA SAHMRI Artist in residence

Visual Arts Board, Australia Council, Residency Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC

2013 Alcorso Foundation Vitrify Ceramic Award 2013 Winner
2011 Arts SA Fellowship
2010 Member of the Order (AM)
2009 SALA Monograph, About being here, Writer Cath Kenneally
2008 La Trobe University Merit Award, Sidney Myer Ceramics Award
Australian Higher Degree by Research Scholarship University of South Australia, PhD
2007 South Australian Ceramic Award
2004 Visual Arts Board, Australia Council, New Work
2002 Arts SA project grant
2001 Visual Arts Craft Fund, Australia Council, New Work

Arts SA project grant


City of Hobart Art Prize, Ceramics


Visual Arts/Crafts Board of Australia Council project grant
Anne and Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship


S.A. Department for Arts and Cultural Development, Project grant


Australian Post Graduate Award Scholarship


South Australian Department for Arts, Project Grant


Japan/South Australia Cultural Exchange Scheme, travel grant


Visual Arts/Crafts Board of Australia Council Project Grant


Caloundra Art Prize (Ceramics)


Crafts Board, Australia Council, development grant 


S.A. Department for Arts, project grant
Alice Springs Craft Prize


Pugmill Award exhibition, Jam Factory Gallery, Adelaide


National Gallery of Australia
Alice Springs Crafts Center
Art Gallery of South Australia
Manly Art Gallery & Museum
Campbelltown City Art Gallery
Newcastle Regional Art Gallery
University of South Australia
University of Adelaide
McQuarrie Bank Sydney
Aomori Contemporary Art Center, Japan
LaTrobe University / Shepparton Art Gallery
numerous private collections in Australia, Japan & USA