Online exhibition: Looking Beyond

Online exhibition: Looking Beyond

Welcome to the online home of Looking Beyond, an exhibition featuring Phoebe McDonald and Kenji Uranishi currently running at the private BCM Crucible Gallery until Wednesday 18 December 2013. The exhibition is curated by Miriam Carter, the current recipient of BCM and artisan’s Emerging Curator Mentorship.

If you would like to arrange a viewing, please contact artisan at or (07) 3215 0800 or Kate Holloway at or (07) 3308 2000. See Price List for purchasing details.


About the BCM Crucible Gallery

artisan formed a partnership with BCM in 2011 which involves the curation of a number of exhibitions in the Crucible Gallery space within the BCM office to showcase the best of Queensland craft and design artists, as well as an Emerging Curator program.

The Emerging Curator program develops the talents of an emerging arts curator under the guidance of the artisan team, and the program was recognised in the 2012 Australia Council’s Young and Emerging Artists category of the AbaF Queensland Awards. The artisan/BCM partnership is helping to develop future arts leaders, support Queensland’s craft and design community, and also provides exhibition opportunities for Queensland’s talented artists.

About Looking Beyond

Our visual landscape is filled with patterns – tessellations of geometric shapes that appear in even the most basic of natural structures. Phoebe McDonald and Kenji Uranishi are two artists that take inspiration from such patterning, utilising this as a starting point to look beyond the surface of an artwork through the implementation of optical illusions. As purveyors of geometry, McDonald and Uranishi engage sculptural forms to create a sense of depth and movement – using light to expose or conceal shapes and patterns inside the work. Their expertise lies in the manipulation of patterns using tessellating, geometric forms to create structures that challenge the viewer’s sense of order.

The humble triangle is often used as a starting point for Phoebe McDonald. Employing the inherent structural strength of this geometric shape, McDonald has created a multitude of three dimensional works that sit within a two dimensional plane. Her 2011 series Rise and fall, again sees the implementation of this as she tessellates triangular prisms across a flat surface in order to create patterns that provide a sense of visual continuation beyond the border edge.

Refraction and reflection (2012) also explores this optical illusion of continuation, but by using ambient light crossing over the piece to create the effect. This use of light and its relation to visual perception is central to McDonald’s practice. Her later Spectrum selection series (2013) sees the furtherance of this; however, in these works McDonald has created concave tessellations as a relief into the surface of the work instead of the convex patterning which appeared previously.

As a ceramicist, Kenji Uranishi utilises three dimensional forms to convey his interest and experimentation in geometric patterning. Unlike McDonald, Uranishi combines numerous geometric shapes in the construction of his work – often using a base shape to create a three dimensional construct of another. Uranishi’s manipulation of lines and angles conveys a sense of movement within the static object. Entwined 3 (2013) and Incline 1 (2013) are particularly indicative of this as each creates a sense of diagonal flow across the piece as if the stacked rectangular prisms may fall over at any second.

Architectural structures are also referenced in Uranishi’s work, particularly in the 2013 Sanctuary series. These hollow geometric forms are easily viewed as being apartment blocks or dwellings that provide the refuge that their name suggests. The clean visual lines of Uranishi’s work creates a sense of reflection through which the artist encourages us to look beyond the surface of the work, as the changing ambient light highlights a new angle throughout the day.

Employing light in this manner, both artists create works of reflection that provide a visual refuge for the viewer. Yet through this manipulation, McDonald and Uranishi also encourage us to look beyond the surface of the object and consider the light illusions at play. The simplicity of their constructions engages viewers in a dialogue about space where the art object, light and perception can begin to be analysed.

Essay by Miriam Carter

Kenji Uranishi’s artworks in this exhibition are courtesy of the artist and Andrew Baker Art Dealer. Phoebe McDonald’s artworks are courtesy of the artist.