Closing the Circle: Ernest Daetwyler


Ernest Daetwyler, Ice Bubbles

You can blow soap bubbles in the wintertime, and do it outdoors; it’s not just a summertime, outdoors thing. If you do it carefully enough, you can watch the completed bubble begin to freeze. But there’s a catch: the bubbles, alas, don’t last very long. Freezing creates cracks, and cracks allow trapped air to escape, and, well, you can figure out the rest. Continue reading

Standing In Place Of: Shelly Rahme and Jannick Deslauriers


Jannick Deslaurier, Sentence, souffle, et linceul

Representation. Well, there’s a loaded term if ever there was; a veritable minefield. It has myriad meanings, associations, connotations, what have you. So let me narrow it down – quite a bit, actually – to what I’ll call “standing in place of.”

By that I basically mean the displacement of something – in this instance, aesthetic displacement – and that shape of the consequent void being occupied by something “other,” something, well, something “standing in place of.” Continue reading

Don Maynard: Through a Glass, Lightly


Don Maynard, Tidal Mass (installation detail)

This starts with glass. Again.

This time, though, it’s not the hot glass of the studio, but rather the commercial and industrial variety. Like Pyrex, that stuff so familiar to us through its use in durable kitchenware for cooking (and maybe less familiar for its use in laboratory glassware). And the setting is of course neither a kitchen nor a lab, but an austere gallery space – your standard white cube. Along one long wall stand 700 long and thin Pyrex rods. The rods are transparent, and actually lean relatively untidily against the wall. Continue reading

Clear as Mud: Ceramic Sculpture by Christopher Reid Flock and Magdolene Dykstra


Christopher Reid Flock, Basking Gaussian Noise

I would suggest that there are two primary paths through clay and toward the sculptural: one through (or into) the vessel, and the other not so much.

Okay, that’s not so profound a statement, but really it does rather boil down to this kind of polarity. Either you embrace the fact that clay has pretty much always been about the vessel form and all of its utilitarian associations (and I am here ignoring the fact that clay was actually once the primary means of written communication, but never mind) and work your way through that field towards its sculptural ends; or you pretty much bypass it completely. Do an end run, so to speak. The powerfully abstract sculptural work of an artist like Peter Voulkos might strongly suggest that he took the latter course, but he was no stranger to the pot. Continue reading

Susan Rankin: Glassworks


Susan Rankin, Soft Blue with Blue Delphinium

I came of age – the late 1970s – in an artistic environment in which artists, and not curators or gallery directors, were taking the lead. In Canada, this led to the founding of galleries right across the country that were programmed and run by artists. One of the credos of this movement was the idea that you were an artist if identified as an artist. Continue reading

Seeing Sounds: Gordon Monahan


Gordon Monahan, Speaker Swinging

We’re not unfamiliar with the use of sound to shape or reshape a physical space. I mean, in a way isn’t that what Muzak was intended to do?  Infect psychological space, inner space, and have us respond by, say, spending more money in a carefully structured physical space set up to enable just that? And haven’t I read about the use of classical music piped into outdoor settings to drive off young people who might otherwise congregate there? Isn’t that physical space being aurally reshaped to make it less amenable to a select and specific few? Continue reading