Distinct from any of his previous work, the range is comprised of singular, simplistic objects, each reduced to a colored tone. Intrigued by the quality announced through light and shadow, Rhys chose to create the formulated shape using aluminum tubing and ceramic slip casting drawn from his interest in material extrusions.
Focused on the embodiment of exquisite sculptural quality, the series invokes a new dialogue, one that is symbolic of the depth and intrigue of the ceramic form. The desire to illustrate both originality and dynamism in his work conveys the harmonious balance between artistic integrity and producibility, an aspect that is prevalent in all of his previous work, ‘U Vase’ being no different.
Envisioned in both residential and commercial settings, the stoneware sculptures utter themselves distinct to each environment with tone, shape and depth to encourage correspondence to the work. Primarily a furniture, lighting and objects designer, Rhys was inspired by the work of both Australia’s best established and emerging ceramicists Damon Moon, Moon, Yuro Cuchor, Connie Augoustinos and Jordan Gower. Using cardboard to prototype different proportions of models, Rhys researched the then unfamiliar methods to bring his sculptural ideas to life.
Rhys states that the ‘U Vase’ series has given him a new found appreciation for items smaller in scale. Up until this point, Rhy’s work has been primarily fixated on furniture and lighting designs, with the idea of a homewares component as something that he has toyed with but never made time for. Creating ‘U Vase’ originally for an exhibition, Rhys states that the brief has given him the opportunity to bring a new capability to his portfolio. Enthused about how well the public has taken to the sculptural series, the local Australian industry could soon be witnessing more of this in his work.
Establishing Rhys Cooper in 2016, Rhys continues to seek out the highest quality in materials and manufacturing processes. The ‘U Vase’ series is produced by the exceptional ceramicists at JamFactory in Adelaide, South Australia. Continuing to seek out the finessed skill of local craftspeople and industry designers, both are central to Rhys’ vision is sustaining quality and locale and the ability to make them visible elements in his work.