Submitted by: Maia Stark, SCC Exhibitions & Educations Coordinator, on behalf of Carole Epp, Exhibition Curator
What makes a good story? How does one weave a narrative and what is the best way to get that story to stand the test of time? Of course, there is the tradition of passing down stories through oral legacies and by means of pen and paper, book and newspaper, audio and videotape, and even technological and virtual formats. Let us add to that list the realm of art; more specifically, ceramics. An indelible and permanent material, clay materials long outlive their makers, stand all sorts of tests of time, and serve as one of the most perfect vehicles for storytelling.
The history of functional ware serving as a narrative conduit is present in virtually every ceramic-producing society, and has long depicted people, values, and culture. It is the longstanding lineage of such a practice that serves as inspiration for these six contemporary artists, who investigate portrayals of social narrative.
As core values in society shift slowly, but noticeably, towards a reaffirmation in the value of the handmade, these artists represent a new generation of clay artists who are using their medium to depict our times in the most intriguing of ways. Some retell and record their stories with a sense of refinement that has rubbed off on us via the world of graphic design, while others employ a visceral meat-and-potato approach to aesthetics—more akin to the worlds of folk art, comics, and cartoons. Using the concept of the narrative as a vehicle for their artistic endeavors, each of the artists in this exhibition serve as prime examples of how technical and aesthetic choices make for the retelling of their stories—in the most unique ways.
While a diverse and broad range of ceramic practitioners currently work within the genre, these particular makers were selected to represent a certain subsection within the genre. Each of the artists help to identify either a specific female narrative; a generational narrative, a design based aesthetic or even narratives of a geographical nature.
These artists, I believe, have captured a feel for the culture and interests that comprise contemporary Canadian society today.
– Carole Epp
The Narrative Dish can be viewed at the Affinity Gallery, 813 Broadway Ave, Saskatoon SK, from April 17 – May 23, 2015. Open from 10 am – 5 pm Monday to Saturday; open late Thursday until 8 pm. View photos from the exhibition on our website here.