The perception of architecture is dependent on movement: that of the viewer in and around the inert elements that enclose space and create form. It is through the treatment of surface and design of structure using rhythm, repetition, scale and other devices, the illusion of motion is created.

The exhibition, Dance Urban, presents a new body of ceramic sculpture by Susan Robey that extends her exploration of movement in architecture to create the illusion of gesture and personality.

Experimenting and working with paper clay allows Robey to push the structural limits of hand building. Robey mitres and manipulates paper-thin cast clay slabs to construct strangely hybrid objects balancing on a cluster of thin clay columns. Surface textures are used that contribute to a sense of liveliness and rhythm in the external envelope of each work.

The objects are light to lift but have the solidity of buildings. Unlike buildings, these fragile, oddly balanced objects seem alive and mobile but are perhaps about to stumble or disintegrate. Unlike buildings, they are enclosed although openings in the thin exterior walls suggest a hollow, air-filled interior space.

They are architectural creatures that scuttle, sneak and otherwise communicate and conspire with each other to form an interconnected choreography.

The works dance on the edge of life.


View Online

View online


With a background in architecture, Melbourne-based ceramic artist, Susan Robey, hand-builds ceramic objects that reflect her depth of interest in architectural spatial ideas, materials and techniques. Working with paperclay, Robey draws on architectural processes and the distinctive material capabilities of clay to make works with the fragility of paper but the solidity of buildings.

Robey recently participated in a two-year touring exhibition in the US – Particle and Wave: Paperclay Illuminated, an international invitation ceramic exhibition showcasing her unique experimental approach. In 2005 Robey was awarded the Australia Council Residency in Rome and has been awarded an Artist’s Residency at The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Japan in 2022.

Robey has held two solo exhibitions at Craft Victoria, Palimpsest (2003) and Inhabit (2011). Her work has been selected as a finalist in many national and international ceramic competitions including The International Competition for Contemporary Ceramic Art, Faenza, Italy; The Taiwan Ceramics Biennale International Competition, Taipei, Taiwan; and The International Ceramics Competition, Mino, Japan. Robey is represented in national public collections, and private collections in Australia, Japan, United Kingdom and New Zealand.