Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery coordinator of visitor experience Kim Verrier looks over the Once + Future Canadian Contemporary Ceramics currently on exhibit in the gallery.

Pushing the limits of ceramics

Artists featured in the MAG’s Once + Future exhibit skillfully succeeds in bursting any preconceived notions about ceramics.

Artists featured in the MAG’s Once + Future exhibit skillfully succeeds in bursting any preconceived notions about ceramics.

The Canadian contemporary ceramics show, that runs started Aug. 2 and runs to Oct. 19, features five post-emerging artists, including Alysse Bowd, of Red Deer, who will be at the exhibit’s reception on Oct. 3 to present a performance piece using the porcelain bells in her artwork The Wishing Girl.

Kim Verrier, co-ordinator of visitor experience at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, said some of the works will delight visitors with movement built right into the art.

“They’re not expecting it. It gets your attention. I think that’s part of the pleasure of the exhibition,” said Verrier about the show curated by artist and Red Deer College instructor Robin Lambert.

Technology also plays a role whether it’s used to create the art or employed in the presentation, she said.

“They are pushing the limits and boundaries of ceramics and how we see them.”

She said Once + Future “screams movement” in physical motion and where ceramics is heading.

Verrier said she really likes the ingenuity of the mixed medium piece #lovechild by ceramicist Brendan Tang, of Vancouver, and digital artist Alex McLeod, of Toronto.

Their first ever collaboration combines virtual and real worlds with moving digital images filling in spaces within the ceramic sculpture.

Together they have created a sphere that appears to be living, breathing, changing and growing. Visitors examining the piece become part of the art through a live digital feedback camera aimed at #lovechild.

Artist Alwyn O’Brien, of Salt Spring Island, B.C., gives traditional vase forms a delicate, wiry edge that appear to defy ceramics with her three pieces Tiddlywink Kaleidoscope, Grisaille and Final Fantasy.

“That’s where her technology comes into play. All of her pieces have to be built within the kiln. And she never knows if they’re going to survive the firing,” Verrier said.

“She actually had to drive these here,” she added about O’Brien’s fragile works.

Artist Amélie Proulx, of Quebec City, transports gallery visitors to a garden where flowers quiver in a gentle breeze with Jardinet Mécanique I.

Verrier said firing clay in a kiln makes it hard, but Proulx finds a way to bring movement back into her pieces through mechanics.

Bowd will be art in motion with her performance piece at 7:30 p.m. during the exhibit’s reception on Oct. 3. The reception runs from 7 to 9 p.m., with remarks at 7:15 p.m.

As a static work, Bowd’s 42 small, white bells makes Verrier think — fairies.

“They have this whimsy to them. It takes you into a fantasy world and they look so delicate.”

She said the artists in Once + Future are causing visitors to the museum to pause, ponder and appreciate the potential of such a traditional medium as ceramics.

“People are starting to notice who they are and what they’re doing,” Verrier said.

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