Gerry Wedd: Thong Cycle

'Gerry Wedd: Thong Cycle' looks at the diverse artistic practice of Gerry Wedd from ironic decorative teapots to edgy T-Shirts designs in spired by popular culture.
Gerry Wedd: Thong Cycle
Gerry Wedd: Thong Cycle looks at the diverse artistic practice of Gerry Wedd from ironic decorative teapots to edgy T-Shirts designs in spired by popular culture. Gerry Wedd is a South Australian artist whose artworks can be seen everywhere, from peoples backs to a children’s playground in the heart of the city of Adelaide. Beginning his artistic career assisting his mother, Felicity Wedd’s ceramics in the mid-70’s, Gerry Wedd quickly moved to producing jewellery beginning a TAFE course in 1976. He later became a designer for mambo producing some of the most recognisable designs. Wedd’ art has a vibrant energy and edginess that is often lost in much of today’s art. He combines recognisable classical imagery like, for example, the well known willow pattern seen on dinner sets and teacups, with recognisable Australiana, like the thong. While some of his artwork is obvious in it’s divergence from traditional art forms like a cast carrot greater, other works are much more subtle and it is only when you closely look at the design, that you realise there are men playing cricket amongst the willow pattern. Wedd’s art draws for a large array of inspiration, which combines a subject like ancient Greek mythology with AFL football all, of which are coloured with Wedd’s signature wit. His jewellery is just as strong and appears like miniature wearable sculptures rather than traditional motifs or styles. Wedd’s style, entrenched firmly in the legacy of Skangaroovian Funk (the Australian cousin of the Californian Funk movement of the 70’s and 80’s) with other notable ceramicists like Bruce Nusky, Mark Thompson and Paul Greenaway, is difficult to ‘pidgeon-hole’. His medium is diverse and the subjects vary, however Mark Thompson, the author of Gerry Wedd: Thong Cycle manages to draw it together well. The book is divided into thematic subsections that look at the concepts behind the artworks rather than restricting the flow of the book to chronology or medium. This is effective considering the range of mediums Wedd has consistently used throughout his career. Thompson remarks, in his foreword, that ‘it is the usual nature of [books on artists] that their authors must bring a cool chin-stroking objectivity to the task’, but goes on to say ‘I don’t pretend to have done anything of the sort’. This simple statement sums up the tone of the book: It is light-hearted and easy to read which fits its subject matter. Dispersed through out the text is full colour images that the reader can refer to which shows a sample the full rang of Wedd’s work. Gerry Wedd: Thong Cycle is a well written, interesting book on one of Australia’s most diverse and remarkable artists. This book forms part of the series accompanying the South Australian Living Artists (SALA Festival) and is published by Wakefield Press. Mark Thompson is a writer and photographer and has published a number of books investigating ‘cultures of backyard resourcefulness’. Gerry Wedd: Thong Cycle Author: Mark Thompson Genre: Art; Ceramics, Jewellery, Mambo Fashion Publisher: Wakefield Press ISBN: 978 1 86 254 7964

Jade Wildy

Monday 28 September, 2009

About the author

Jade Wildy is an art theorist and historian based in Adelaide, Australia and she is currently studying for a Masters of Art History at the University of Adelaide. Jade holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts, with a major in ceramics from the University of South Australia. Jade aspires to become an art writer and researcher to pursue her love of visual art and art history. Her current research interests centre around contemporary art with a particular focus on Environmental Art, but she also has a love for psychology, biology and contemporary culture through art, music and dance. Jade enjoys working in her established home studio, as well as fiction and arts writing, and have written numerous reviews for ArtsHub Australia on both visual and performing arts in addition to several book reviews.