Curated by Arin Fay
THROWN is a group exhibition featuring a diverse cross-section of artists from across the country, all of which offer a distinct and exemplary approach to ceramics. Featured in the show are Samantha Dickie, an abstract assemblage artist from Victoria, BC; John Kuroc, an artist from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, specializing in hand-built forms; Shary Boyle, an artist of many mediums who explores the fantastical potential of the human form; Jody Greenman-Barber, whose delicate works find inspiration from dance and movement; Sergio Raffo, a Kaslo resident of Cuban origin who works in both human and architectural forms; Robin Dupont, a specialist in atmospheric firing techniques and a skilled kiln-builder; and Rory Macdonald, an artist and professor at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, whose work blurs the line between installation and intervention.
The artists contributing to THROWN represent ceramics through a diversity of means and method, perspective and scale, and from across the geography of Canada. The reverence and offering of Robin DuPont’s cups and stools; the impossible architecture of Jody Greenman-Barber’s akin to kinetic sculptures that dance shadows on the wall; the figurative phantasm of Shary Boyle’s silver polished study of perfectly articulated unease, John Kuroc’s anthropomorphic burnished urn, the repose and human scale of Sergio Raffo’s Absence; and the ethereal, spatial disruption and augmentation of Samantha Dickie’s Drop. There is a vast distance travelled, if you follow the gaze and trajectory of every piece, intention, emotion, and the frozen fluidity of the work.
The physicality of ceramics is felt in the spaces both within and between these works, the pull and push and plasticity, the weight and balance of self-standing infrastructure, the risk of rise and fall, the whirl of centrifugal force. The privilege of medium-centric group exhibitions such as THROWN is a gamut of perspective as opposed to a single one; a range or visual study of commonality, difference and divergence.
There is a somewhat unresolved relationship within many artistic disciplines and mediums, ceramics included, a sense that the divide between art and craft, expression and utility, is an insurmountable divide, a creative chasm uncrossed. This idea has been addressed within the THROWN exhibition by a diversity of expression and a recognition / erasure of the aforementioned divide. Robin DuPont’s spine of stools down the centre of the room, which in a very deliberate but symbolic sense, grounds the body of the exhibition to the room and each component part. There is a communion in this arrangement, an even ground where all forms are celebrated and connected. Curator Carol E. Mayer writes about the extraordinary exhibition Playing with Fire that “…the artists defiantly and boldly challenge the notion that all things made of clay are required to be functional; in their works, clay is released from this constraint and elevated into extraordinary works of art.” Rachel Gotlieb describes this as “releasing the medium from the tyranny of function” (Contemporary Ceramics, The Canadian Encyclopedia). And while there is truth in these statements there is equal truth in the celebration and perfection of form, the recognition of component parts that create the whole, breaking free of all boundaries that constrain creativity.
Plastic art forms, such as ceramics, or any art forms that involve manipulation, both honour age old forms as well as explore the potential parameters of where the medium can and will go. By finding the limits and also recognizing the roots, artists contribute to an endless legacy of discipline and departure. The archaeological expanse, from time immemorial to present day, illustrates all manner of vessel and shard. The constituents of civilization and the creations and contributors of/to culture, illustrate who we are and were in the same way that figurative and architectural embellishment and abstract forms, from minute to massive scale, do.”
These types of medium-centric group exhibitions create an opportunity for a rare form of dialog amongst the participating artists, even in times when active mentorship and collaboration are not possible, as the respective works speak so strongly of perspective and means and method. THROWN is the second iteration of an ongoing series of medium-centric exhibitions which was inspired by ‘Lost Thread’, a spectacular and well-received group textile show mounted in 2018 which highlighted six textile artists from across the nation, but with a very specific focus on regional Kootenay artists, and with “the same eye to diversity of expression and methodology. This formula of curating exhibitions gives us the opportunity to include “our” artists in wide-ranging cultural and creative conversations, within a Canadian context”
This project is being supported through a Canada Council grant and has partnered with Selkirk College and Medalta in Medicine Hat. This exhibition project will support a tour to Medalta in the Summer of 2021, a publication and online programming.
Take a 3D Tour of the Exhibition