Does Canadian ceramics have a unified identity, or does the immense physical and cultural geographies make the question of identity much more intricate and diverse? This current show is an endeavor to find common threads if any by exploring works of six Canadian artists, unified by their excellence in craft and individuality in art. There are nuances of calmness and serenity; simplicity and under-stated references to nature in the collected works. Is that the collective Canadian approach? This show is designed, not to offer conclusive answers but to stir up the original question.
Show runs August 20th to September 10th
Via AKAR DESIGN
So it would be much easier for me to simply post this exhibition information and remain quiet...maybe I should. I have an enormous respect for the work of AKAR and it's staff. I truly believe that they show amazing ceramic art and are a force within the art community and the maker community which is creating value and presence for handmade craft in contemporary culture and marketplace. I also have a large amount of respect for the artists represented in this Northerners exhibition. That being said, I feel that there is a conversation presented by AKAR within this exhibition that should be addressed and discussed by Canadian ceramic artists and international artists as well. What is our identity? Do we have one? Do we need one? Do other countries have one? Did we not get the memo that we needed one?
Personally I feel that this is a question/comment that has been put forth in the past regarding the Canadian scene as a manner in which to attempt at understanding Canadian ceramics, which have potentially been neglected a bit due to their proximity to America. Even a shallow look at the contemporary Canadian ceramic scene shows a wealth of skill, approach and perspectives towards craft. So much so that could never be summed up simply. Could any other country's ceramic craft production be summed up similarly?
I do not even begin to suggest that AKAR is attempting to find a conclusion to this question, nor do I believe that they should. Great in fact that they asked the question, i guess. But I do have to wonder about an exhibition which posses the question while exhibiting solely functional based works by a limited geographical region, (4 out of 6 from Ontario? We do have 10 provinces and 3 territories), and without much variety in generational perspectives. While there are many Canadian ceramic artists engaging with what makes Canada, well Canada, gorgeous nature, diversity, tradition, etc. There are also many who engage critically and conceptually with other diverse and more universal subject matter. I'm not trying to upset with these comments, and admittedly i'm likely coming across defensively. I guess I just wanted to put my 2 cents out there, even if they are late at night 2 cents, and therefore maybe only worth a penny (a canadian penny no less) in an attempt to get some discussion happening, here on the blog or elsewhere about exactly what AKAR is questioning with this exhibition - What is Canadian Ceramics? Thoughts?