Toronto Potters 15th Biennial Juried Exhibition

Published: September 16th 2010
in Culture » Art

Irit Lepkin, Lets Walk, 2010, 15cm x 23cm x 13cm and 12cm x 19cm x 9cm, paperclay, underglaze,stain,glaze, handbuilt
Andrea Vuletin, Friends of Man vase, 2010, Ht. 40cm, Cone 6 Clay with inlaid underglaze, Oxidation firing
Deborah Freeman , Appetizer Caddy, 2010, Ht.18cm x l.30.5cm x w.16cm, Stoneware and Porcelain, cone 10 gas reduction fired

For many of us, pottery, or the creation of vessels from clay, is either something from history books and the museums, looking at broken jars found in archaeological sites, or it relates to mugs, tiles or other home accessories, mass produced in China and brought to us by many chain stores. But the artistic application of clay as an art form, both in functional and non-functional items, is still very much alive and kicking! Just go around the many summer art and craft festivals, or the one-of-a-kind shows, and you can see how many contemporary artists are making their life dedicated to and livelihood by “playing with clay”.


In our city we have the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, dedicated to the art of clay. The museum, just across the street from the ROM, has a permanent collection, in which you can see pots, sculptures and anything in between from all eras. The temporary gallery recently hosted an amazing collection from the last Israeli Biennale. And this weekend, the museum store will open the 14th exhibition of the Toronto Potters group.


Toronto Potters is a group of dedicated potters who mostly live and work in the GTA. The group started more than 30 years ago as a non-for-profit organization, with the objectives of helping the local potters with their professional advancement, both in sharing techniques and knowledge, and with the business aspects. Throughout the years they have organized, with the help of some public funding art grants, exhibits and art shows-and-sales. This year, 41 pieces were juried into the show by the jurors, retired Professors of Ceramics, Ann Roberts (University of Waterloo) and Bruce Cochrane (Sheridan College).


The artists whose work was accepted are much diversified, coming from many different backgrounds and countries, such as Brazil, Mexico, Scotland, Israel and others. Our Israeli artist in the show is Irit Lepkin, who was featured here before in Shalom Toronto.


Irit’s ceramic sculptures are inspired by organic forms found in nature, and have many political connotations involving social issues. Much of her inspiration comes from her photography and her personal background. She often incorporates mixed media such as rusted metal or barbed wire in order to juxtapose the harshness of reality with the softness of clay. Some of her recent work includes sculptural shoes made in clay and mixed media.


The show consists of three parts. The main one is the juried exhibit at the museum’s store. All forty one pieces are for sale, ranging from $30 to $1000. The artists’ diversity will be shown in their work. Using many different materials and techniques–stoneware, porcelain, raku, low fire, high fire, gas reduction, crystalline glaze, wood fire – and applying their art to create either structural, “for use”, items, or functional, “for expression”.


The second part is a retrospective of past award winners, presented at the lobby’s vitrine. This will showcase selected award winning works from past exhibits.


And the third one is an auction at the opening night (Thursday, September 16, 6 - 8pm, the Gardiner Museum) of pieces submitted for the survey show. These are small pieces, 6” in diameter, with a hole in the middle so that they can be mounted on a pole. Several assemblies, each consists of a pole and several small pieces, will be auctioned. With the support of the Ontario Arts Council, the show will also have a printed celebratory catalog that will document Toronto Potters’ history and the show.


Related articles: (art, pottery, Toronto Potters, Gardiner Museum)
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