Fallen angel, cunning vixen

Three foxes 2006
Photo: Thomas Neile

2 March - 5 April 2007

Ceramic figures exploring symbolic mythologies
by PAMELA LEUNG

Foxes are among many animals that have been worshiped in China. Often seen emerging from graves they are thought to be the transmigrated souls of the deceased or possibly angels. Generally the fox is of ill omen, living to a thousand years it has alchemical powers able to produce fire by striking the ground with its tail. The fox is cunning, cautious and skeptical, capable of transforming into old men, scholars or pretty young maidens and is fond of playing pranks on humans.

Leung's sculpture explores the Jungian concept of universal symbols, which claim that many motifs are common across cultures from different times and places.  Recently she has researched the significance of bird-man characters from Aztec, Egyptian, European and Asian theologies, which have all been used to represent beings that transcend mortal life and, by virtue of wings, have the power to travel between heaven and earth.

The characters Leung creates are intensely personal expressions using a vocabulary of symbols that overcome her language barrier. Themes vary from the lighthearted and absurd to matters of life, death, birth and rebirth. Some pieces reflect her delight in dressing up and thus transforming her own appearance while others represent her remarkable battle against advanced lung cancer and her subsequent loss of fertility.

Pamela Leung has produced a vast body of work spanning 25 years, held in public collections worldwide. This exhibition of new work demonstrates her mastery of hand-building and a newfound confidence in glazing. Pieces range in size from 20cm to 120cm some form larger composite groups. Included are limited edition porcelain casts of her figurines produced by hering-berlin, there is a short film in which Leung explains some of her symbolism and techniques.

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