Springback Road Series 5

Springback Road Series 5

Double vision

Sculpture and landscape photography are enmeshed in a new art exhibit at the Harris-Warke Gallery in Red Deer. Jane Durham, a Red Deer artist now living in Calgary, presents landscape photographs that are double exposed to also reveal images of her abstract ceramic sculptures.

Sculpture and landscape photography are enmeshed in a new art exhibit at the Harris-Warke Gallery in Red Deer.

Jane Durham, a Red Deer artist now living in Calgary, presents landscape photographs that are double exposed to also reveal images of her abstract ceramic sculptures.

The exhibit, A Collection, shows exactly where Durham’s artistic inspiration springs from — the organic shapes and colours of rural Alberta.

Viewers can see the same ochre yellows, greens and browns that Durham uses in her sculptures and functional ceramics (which are also displayed in the gallery), as are in the landscapes in her province.

“It’s sort of sculpture meets functional work, meets photography,” said Durham.

The artist completed Red Deer College’s visual arts program before continuing her education at the Alberta College of Art and Design. Although she started making art at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School, Durham admitted she wasn’t immediately drawn to three-dimensional creations.

Even when starting out at RDC, “I didn’t like ceramics. I thought it was a horrible medium,” she said with a laugh.

But once Durham got past the frustrating stage “where everything was cracking and breaking,” and got more successful results, she began enjoying “the tactility of the clay and being able to use my hands constantly.”

Her sculptures appear free form, but there are some painstaking parts to the process.

The artist “draws” carved lines on the ceramics that look like different layers of sediment.

The indented lines created by a tool similar to a box cutter are filled with a different coloured slip inlay.

The sculpture is stained while still wet with a colour pigment. And after a first firing, it’s glazed.

Durham’s organic sculptured shapes resemble rocks, stones and layers of earth exposed by erosion. There’s the same repetition of colour and line as appear in photos of actual sun-baked Alberta landscapes.

By juxtaposing images of real landscapes and the sculptures they inspired, Durham said she is pointing viewers back to the beginnings of her creation process.

Durham sells mostly functional ceramics decorated with her distinctive lines and colours, at the artisan Market Collective in Calgary.

The roving public market is often held at the Chinese Cultural Centre or the East Village/Riverwalk area.

Her exhibit, A Collection, runs at the Harris-Warke Gallery, upstairs in Sunworks on Ross Street, until Sept. 10.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com