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

Emily Neufeld: Rupture


Yukon Street

That single word evokes and suggests and even yearns. Stripped down and devoid of any patina of emotion, it of course points to something physical, tangible – something real, something constructed, functional, useful. That might be fine and well for the Gods who have risen above human feeling, but for the rest of us mere mortals it is a word fraught with sensation at the emotional and psychological levels. It’s a word of intimacy, of family and love. Add “less” to it, and all those things are devastatingly ripped away. Continue reading

Do No Harm: Marlene Creates

Marlene Creates sculpture

Marlene, Creates, excerpt from Larch, Spruce, Fire, Birch, Hand

I spend a lot of time at a nearby beach on Lake Ontario, drawn by wind and wave, and especially by the rocky shingle of the shoreline. More often than not, I begin re-arranging stones, sometimes walking the beach’s length (about a half-mile or so) placing larger stone markers amidst the smaller stuff at the very edge of the surf. Continue reading