Emerging Contemporaries | Artist Biographies + Statements


Adelina La Vita | Canberra Potters Society

Adelina is an illustrative ceramic artist based in Ngunnawal/Ngambri Country (Canberra). She utilises clay to create playful sculptures, and vibrant decorative functional objects inspired by contrastive landscapes, flora and fauna.

Combined with sgraffito techniques on underglaze colours, Adelina’s vibrant palette is reminiscent of coastal seascapes and mountain ranges. Featuring royal blue and azure backgrounds, aqua, apple green and chartreuse hues, they combine and harmonise together to create an expressive and distinctly vivid artwork.

Her functional ceramic vessels are designed with smooth surface areas, creating a canvas of clay on which to decoratively depict highly stylised scenes of whimsical landscapes and furtive green flora compositions.

Challenging notions of scale and proportion, reality and imagination, her sculptural forms are tactile and colourful, fantastical and surreal. They transport the viewer on a playful nostalgic journey into childhood, evoking emotions of glee, fun and fantasy, freeing the child within. Her sculptures invite tactile participation in an active exchange with the artwork.

Adeline’s series of sculptures, Trunk Tower and Cactus Tower have been inspired by a playful abstraction of flora which arouse exploration and interplay through the interchangeable stackable sculptural forms. The viewer is invited to create their own artworks by engaging in ‘play’.


Dianne Bourke | Canberra Institute of Technology

Dianne is an artist based on the land of the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people. The natural world, discarded objects, and social issues inspire her practice. Her explorations use a wide range of media and techniques, contemplating protection of our natural world and living a good life in a fair and caring way. Her work is based in storytelling, and engages with our obligations, reactions, and concerns of contemporary issues in a quirky and gentle manner. Since retiring from full-time work, Dianne has studied part-time at CIT, completing a Certificate 4 as well as a Diploma of Visual Arts.

Contemplation on Nesting 

My interest in backyard birds led to this exploration of nesting and the human endeavour of nurturing and domesticity. The resulting installation follows a year of supporting my elderly mother to downsize and move to Canberra, and my children to stay in the nest as they try to save for a home.

A nest is a bird’s best effort to protect their next generation. They appear hauntingly delicate and fragile. Doilies reflect the handcrafts of an earlier generation of women. The plates and thread reflect day to day acts of domesticity. The objects I’ve brought together are symbols of the effort and love we put into home and family. They are precariously perched because things can easily fall apart.

I experimented with plaster, discarded domestic objects such as plates and doilies, and remnant eucalyptus branches from recent storms. I loved experimenting with the contrast of the smooth white of the plaster, the intricate lacework, and the subtle colour and texture of the fallen eucalypt branches.

An important evolution of this installation was to photograph arrangements of the objects, nests, and branches into various compositions. This body of work represents unfinished business for me as my family situation continues to evolve.


Dom Gowans | Australian National University

Dominic Gowans’ holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) in the Australian National University School of Art.  His art practice centres on the potential for art to challenge failures and harms in the current social order arising from the conflicting priorities of economic progress and community well-being and cohesion.  His work uses satire and humour to present incongruous representations of concepts or attitudes, using these disconnections to provoke discussion and consideration of alternative approaches to the norm.

The current project is a subversive response to our value systems, intended to question the ways in which our attitudes are formed, the premises we accept.  It uses the iconography and messaging of the dominant paradigm, with its associations upended to challenge this outcome.  He suggests a range of potential meanings in his work from which a viewer is encouraged to find theirs.


Elliane Boulton | Canberra Institute of Technology

Elliane Boulton’s art is about finding the beauty in the natural world, and how we co-exist within our environment. The way we treat our environment is important, and with this collection, Boulton wants to highlight just how much it can give. She also wants the audience to be aware of the environmental impacts of the fashion and synthetic dye industries, they are the third most pollutive industry in 2022.

In her practice, Boulton uses found objects, such as bark and leaves, using them to create works that highlight the natural beauty of the found pieces. For this body of work, she has stepped into the world of eco-printing, using native leaves to create pattern and silk to create form. These silks are accompanied by the steel pipes that they were dyed on, which have also been printed by the leaves.


Finnan Solomon Walker | Sturt School of Wood

Finnan is Designer Maker from Ngurra country (Blue Mountains) who has a deep appreciation and connection to the natural world. He began his carpentry apprenticeship at the age of seventeen. During this time Finnan’s interest in design was reinforced through his experiences in the construction of unique, architecturally designed builds that were aesthetically sympathetic to their location in the natural environment. Through his love of skateboarding and rock climbing comes an eye for lines and movement through space which is reflected in his dynamic forms.

Finnan recently completed a year of study at The Sturt School for Wood where he enjoyed the opportunity to explore his own design concepts. Aligned with his core values of conservation, Finnan seeks to create elegant and original works through careful selection of timber that honours the materials whilst aiming to minimise waste. Finnan continues to refine his skills of Designing and Making, favouring the use of traditional hand tools to develop, fit and shape his pieces.  


Gabriela Renee | Australian National University

Balik Kampung, Going Home… explores my cultural identity and heritage as a mixed-race woman by reconfiguring and re-contextualising photos from family archives. Embedding and layering these images within textiles that evoke the clothing made and worn by my ancestors around the world, I navigate a complex set of histories and challenge the documentary purpose of photography. Ethnically, I am of Sinhalese, Malayali, English, Shetlander, German and Irish descent. As an Australian Malaysian, the journey of uncovering this hybridity has been a deeply personal investigation of images, objects, and materials. Fabric – embroidered saris, handmade lace, and tartan – has interwoven the sensory and visual of the embodied here and now with fragments of family history. Rather than defining a fixed past or finding something that has been lost, a new set of connections to identity has been made and a future narrative discovered.


Juniper Maffescioni | Australian National University

Juniper Maffescioni is an emerging glass artist and recent Honours graduate of the ANU SOA&D Glass Workshop, working across themes of vision, perception, colour, and light, through the lens of the postdigital.

Driven by insatiable curiosity, Maffescioni investigates the function and behaviour of physical materials, mathematical constructs, and the relationships between them. She works to comprehend things by seeing, questioning, and making. Maffescioni uses these methods to manifest objects she wishes to see exist.

In her current investigation of light, colour, and vision, Maffescioni has created a method of form finding to mathematically describe the experience of seeing existing glass art. This is accomplished through cross-disciplinary practices moving amidst virtual and physical realms to manifest data objects in glass.

Through her work, Maffescioni wants people to observe and understand the world as she does. Analogous to performing scientific studies and publishing results, Maffescioni searches for profundity and detail in complex concepts and presents aesthetic objects as proof.

Maffescioni appreciates the intricate pattern and intense colour of glass art and finds comfort through the experience of seeing and creating complex compositions in glass. A long-standing grasp of complex mathematical constructs has become the language by which Maffescioni now synthesizes and fulfills these personal connections to glassmaking.

Her current body of work connects representations of visual information, human perception, and colourful glass. This work questions philosophical implications of the transformation of subjective visual pleasure through an objective analytical process. It also considers discrepancies in data loss and approximation due to algorithmic processes.


Nathan Nhan | Australian National University

Nathan Nhan is a ceramicist whose practice uses experimental making and the ceramic process as a tool to create, investigate and manifest identities within his work. Responding to the inherent materiality and cultural significance of ceramics, Nhan reflects upon concepts of place, community, and identity from an Asian Australian perspective. He often employs traditional vessels as a foundation, transforming historical forms into contemporary vehicles that play with the medium’s enduring epic narrative of both Eastern and Western perspectives imbued with personal stories and social commentary.


Matthew Freeman | Australian National University 

As a contemporary jewellery maker and artist, Freeman engages with jewellery as a history, a culture and as an action. Their Honours project has explored the potential for jewellery to sublimate violence. Historically, culturally and performatively jewellery exists before and after violence: through bloody trade, the spoils of war and ultimately as an expression of power. Drawing from these contexts, Freeman hopes to provoke new understandings of violence through objects that reclaim individual freedom, expose fantasies and desires whilst also critiquing societal hypocrisies.

The main questions guiding Freeman's creative process has been: Can jewellery become a force multiplier, an enabler of the wearers will? What freedoms might be extricated through the wearing? The work negotiates a makeshift aesthetic – a wiki how for violence enabling jewellery- combined with a crafted value usually used associated with gold and silver smithing. Between the improvised and the carefully crafted, sits the agency of the wearer and the violent potential of these objects to enable transformational change.


Molly Desmond | Australian National University

Molly Desmond is an emerging artist living and working on Ngambri and Ngunnawal Country. Working across painting and ceramics, her bold and experimental practice is led by material investigations with an interest in alternative and speculative approaches to object making.

Generated from a resource of memories and sensations, this series of paintings and ceramics explores the formal qualities of surface. Across the series, material qualities have been exploited to create visual tactility to suggest a perceptual ambiguity of surface and depth. Employing the grid as visual and processual device, the temporal surfaces speak to the transient nature of space.


Richard Caines | University of Canberra

Richard Caines is a Canberra based Industrial designer that is an emerging artist from the University of Canberra. With his engagement in projects at University of Canberra and at home, Richard shares a common passion for being ‘hands-on’ through bringing life to visualised solutions. Ranging from at home solutions to visualising products.

Richard has a keen interest for emerging technologies and developing new skills and as a result some of his projects have involved lead lighting, metal welding and woodworking. His work primarily aims towards being human centric with a secondary aim of being achieved in a sustainable practice.


Ross Wortham | Sturt School for Wood

Ross spent the past 20 years in the community services sector and found the craft of woodwork and fine furniture making later in life. Now, after a year of intensive study at the Sturt School for Wood in Mittagong NSW, Ross is proud to call himself a designer and maker of wooden objects. His focus is on traditional joinery and arts and crafts ideals. His work stresses the inherent beauty of the material, the importance of nature as inspiration, and the value of simplicity, utility, and sustainability. Ross is also influenced by the Japanese worldview of ‘Wabi-Sabi’, which sees beauty in that which is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete", such as the wood and natural materials he chooses to work with.

The ‘Gadi bench’ is made from a single book-matched piece of American Black Walnut, paying homage to the iconic century-old telephone table, and showing a deep respect for the ever-strong dovetail joint with over 100 hours dedicated to the dovetails throughout the piece. The legs are splayed and tapered at two different angles and joined using traditional mortis and tenons with wooden buttons attaching the legs to the base allowing for movement and to ensure it is stable and strong enough to last for generations. The cushion was a collaboration with Sydney-based fabric designer Julie Paterson and is made with natural raw linen and screen printed by hand. This bench provides a lovely entry table, occasional chair or even a chaise lounge.


Sabina Moore | Canberra Potters Society

Sabina is a sculptor and art educator based in Canberra. With a background in visual arts and museums, Sabina has returned to her love of sculpture after spending many years working in galleries and arts organisations. She is now focussing on her art practice as a sculptor working with clay, inspired by her fascination with the built environment and the emotions and memories conjured by the remnants of urban decay.

Through Sabina's artistic practice she explores the built environment as a physical location where memories can be contained and preserved. Her ceramic sculptures are inspired by fractured buildings and the fragmented memories left behind by both a buildings’ users and those who constructed it.

Sabina's work is hand-built using mostly slab construction. A course textured clay body is left bare or treated with cold finishes to create multiple textured surfaces that speak to the stories and history held within the building footprint.


William Armstrong Guy | Sturt School of Wood

William Armstrong Guy is an Emerging Artist currently residing in Gubbi Gubbi Country (Sunshine Coast, QLD). William works primarily in timber and studied Fine Furniture Making at Sturt School for Wood. Throughout his studies he was able to delve deep into the complexity and beauty of furniture design. William’s work draws inspiration reminiscent from his experience of place, influencing form and incorporating subtle details.

His work seeks to navigate the balance between the romanticism of hand crafting and using contemporary skills and techniques. William strives to create thoughtful designs that tread the delicate poise between function and form.

The piece, Alone, Together Soon, seeks to explore the concept of connection within disconnection and finding inspiration in the reflection of ‘Home’. It is the subtle details in this piece that convey the idea of connectedness, through each of the tables otherwise lonesome components. The parquetry pattern translates the triangulation from the legs to the top, from side profile the angles of the individual components are perfectly aligned. I use negative space to create separation whilst balancing the overall composition. Drawing inspiration from home and my connection to the ‘Weyba Tree’, a stoic and distinctive tea tree with tapering intertwined limbs that reach out to support a solid canopy.

Designed during seemingly endless days of rain, the La Niña chair draws inspiration from rainy visits to some of my favourite sections of Australia’s East Coast– Gerringong Headland and Boiling Pot, Noosa. The topography of these special places gave the direction for the form and silhouette of the chairs’ design. The character of the Tasmanian Blackwood backrest speaks an ‘eye of the storm’ quality, while the shaped and sculptured joinery adds a ‘waterlike’ flow to the work – giving ode to some of my most admired chair makers. The seats textured rain droplet-esque upholstery is a commissioned piece of hand tufted wool onto monks’ cloth by textile artist Nina Stirton.