Alan Constable|Ten Cameras

How would a comb that cannot untangle hair look? You can make the object dangerous, humorous, useless, sinister. -Christina Ramberg.

Alan Constable’s cameras are real ‘things’; they command constant attention from their audience and from their lucky owners. The resemblance of these sculptures to cameras is a starting point more than an end point, in the same way a swelling foot as painted by Phillip Guston behaves unlike any sensible foot, or a collage of a doorway by James Castle exceeds the expectation its structural simplicity presents.

Constable’s sculpture makes malleable mischief of both the form and function of the camera. In his hands it becomes an anthropomorphic character with endless variations and possibility. Specific types are modeled in clay from magazine advertisements with apt abbreviation and gesture, then glazed and fired in solid, sometimes soupy colors that further activate their surfaces and transform their sober dispositions.

The glazed surfaces are embellished with details so specific and beautiful they necessitate a tactile engagement with the object.  As ‘things’ they still buzz with the handling and energy Constable employs in their making. Dials formed separately and thumbed into position, viewfinder windows cut directly through surfaces together with an oversized scale give Constable’s cameras the feeling of buildings or vessels. Scribed lines articulate both panels and seams, skewed inscriptions indicate model and make: all this information registers with efficiency to produce compelling objects.

The basic slab built walls forming the camera’s body also conceal one of the most interesting elements about these sculptures – internal chambers and walls have been built during the early stages of the works.  Such entombed detail points towards Constable’s dedication to conceive and map a complete object, a total exploration of his subject based on unique invention and interpretation.


South Willard is pleased to present Alan Constable|Ten Cameras as its next Shop Exhibit. Curated by Ricky Swallow in collaboration with Arts Project Australia, this is the first solo presentation of Constable’s ceramic sculptures in the United States. Now in his late 50’s, Constable has been producing his art at Arts Project studio in Melbourne since 1987, and has exhibited his camera sculptures in both gallery and institutional exhibitions to critical praise over the past 7 years. IMAGE CREDITS Ricky Swallow
Ricky wishes to thank Alex Baker for his introduction to Alan’s work, and Sim Luttin and Melissa Petty at Arts Project Australia for their generous assistance.
Ricky Swallow, 2013


For more details contact Ryan Conder – [email protected]. The show will run from Sat May 4th till June 2nd with Bob’s donuts and coffee served between 4-6 on Sat 4th May. Constable is also participating in ‘Outsiderism’ curated by Alex Baker at Fleisher Ollman gallery in Philadelphia this month.


All the cameras are for sale unless otherwise stated. For sales enquiries, please contact Ryan Conder at South Willard.