Karratha Health Campus Entry

Submitted by Ian Dowling

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Client: Karratha Health Campus

Location: Karratha, Australia

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $79,000

Project Team

Artist

Matt Griffiths

Matt Griffiths

Artist

Ian Dowling

Ian Thompson Dowling

Other

Troy Dowling

Public Art Agent

Beth Smallwood

FORM

Public Art Agent

Ellie Van Rhyn

FORM

Overview

On the main entry wall to the hospital, a strongly textured surface of thousands of porcelain pieces gives a lively rhythmic image to those visiting. At 10 metres (34 ft) wide and 4 metres (13 ft) high the artwork has a whole-of-body impact on viewers. It provides stimulation and intrigue, changing perceived colour and depth from different viewpoints.

Goals

The main goal was to interpret the unique landscape and environmental characters of this dramatic location in an abstract form with which most local viewers could identify. Spaces between each piece exposing the charcoal background lift the ceramics forward and integrate the artwork with the architecture. To assist this, textures vary rhythmically, casting shadows that change during the day and under lights at night. The non-reflective glazes use stains of copper and iron applied directionally referencing the rich greens and dark reds of the sub-tropical landscape.

Process

The design process was extensive, starting with local research, the artist reconnecting with his family history and living in the area. Background sheets of texture were cut in polystyrene and a master plan of 500 interlocking pieces were designed to tesselate with varying degrees of depth and texture. The artist cast production moulds from each of these models and porcelain casting began with potter Matt Griffiths. Dried cast pieces were arranged and sprayed with glaze, fired and sorted for transport.

Additional Information

The installation began with a road trip in a truck with Ian's partner Beth Dowling and their son Troy Dowling on the journey to Karratha in the North West, 1200miles over 3 days from the studio at Margaret River in Australia's South West. Each strong piece was secured with adhesive with a stainless steel screw in support.