Casting & Slumping & Blowing…Oh My!

June 13 to September 12, 2010

Curated by Christian Bernard Singer

        

            

 

Click here for the Kitchener-Waterloo Record‘s coverage of this exhibition.

Click here to watch Alfred Engerer in his studio.

Click here for the exhibition brochure.

 

Alfred Engerer: An Alfred Experience, Moulds as part of the Process

As a way of demonstrating various processes of blowing and casting glass using moulds, a portion of Alfred Engerer’s glass studio will be installed in the Gallery. The exhibition will explore various processes of casting glass from blowing, casting, slumping, ladling, etc into moulds. What kinds of moulds are used, the various options available, and how he and a variety of artists that he has collaborated with, are using unique approaches to create work.  Engerer’s own work, some of his moulds, and technical examples showing the creation process from start to finish. The exhibition is be complemented by photos and videos showing Engerer and other artists in action with hot glass. Engerer describes his work as essentially an exploration of ideas, his own and others, about architectural space, shape, and form combined with his thoughts and feelings about histories and mythologies.

Alfred Engerer’s work is essentially an exploration of ideas, his own and others, about architectural space, shape, and form combined with his thoughts and feelings about histories and mythologies. The intrepid artist’s passion for glass is infectious and he has been a major figure in the Canadian glass scene for years. Born in Malta, the Toronto-based glass sculptor and installation artist has been working primarily in hot glass for the last 30 years. He co- founded the hot glass studio co-op, Geisterblitz Glass and was a founding member of the installation art group Skunkworks – Outlaw Neon, known for making hand-blown neon tubes for use in creating massive site-specific installations – often unsanctioned. Engerer has taught at OCAD and his work has been exhibited around the world and is in many important international collections.

Engerer’s passion for glass is infectious and he has been a major figure in the Canadian glass scene for years. Born in Malta, the Toronto-based glass sculptor and installation artist has been working primarily in hot glass for the last 30 years. He co- founded the hot glass studio co-op, Geisterblitz Glass and was a founding member of the installation art group Skunkworks – Outlaw Neon, known for making hand-blown neon tubes for use in creating massive site-specific installations – often unsanctioned. Engerer co-curated with Lisa Wuorhela (Director of Material Matters) the Glass Architecture Project at the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery in 1995 and the exhibition toured to the Design Exchange. Engerer has taught at OCAD and his work has been exhibited around the world and is in many important international collections including the Joe and Anna Mendel Collection that was recently donated to the Museum of Fine Art, Montreal). In 1996, he was commissioned to create decorative and sculptural elements and to curate a permanent collection of all-Canadian glass art, craft, and design for the New Lanes Restauant at the Four Seasons Hotel in Mayfair, London. Engerer’s studio, Geisterblitz, was sustained as a co-operative for 14 years by the energy, drive, and passion of artists in the glass scene that emerged from the Ontario College of Art. Geisterblitz will continue with a much greater and  expansive capacity under the new ownership of Yente Schokking. The new studio will include workshops about lamp-working, bead work, mould-making, and kiln-casting in addition to the mainstays of blowing and casting in a series of studios that will cover some 10,000 square feet.

Alfred Engerer and the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery gratefully acknowledge the huge support of Yente Schokking, Owner of the new GeisterBlitz Art Glass Works in Toronto.

 

Bruce Taylor: Lucid Dreaming

Taylor’s latest work oscillates between relic and portent – vaguely familiar yet mysterious elusive. The familiar, however, lies in his inspiration of industry and a history of ceramic anthropomorphic vessels that goes back thousands of years.

Humans have an inherent tendency to project human characteristics on to inanimate objects, non-human creatures and beings, phenomena, and ‘special’ places. Anthropomorphism may have originally been a way for humans to relate to and explain the unknowable, entering our myths, fables, and stories to articulate human experience from the most far-reaching and encompassing to the most mundane — helping us to understand where we came from, who we are, what we can do, and how we can be. Taylor fully explores and embraces anthropomorphic personae by unabashedly appropriating from the world of pop culture characters of his children’s dolls, toys, and even computer games. While his forms are inspired by Victorian-era Toby Character Jugs – vessels that were formed in to the heads of recognizable personalities of the day, Taylor’s characters are regal, timeless, magnificent, full of import, and recall images of statues of the great pharaohs or of the characters in the novel Dune by Frank Herbert.

In particular, Lucid Dreaming makes reference to ideals of industrial efficiency and the idea for the series was drawn from old footage of Victorian-era pouring and pounding of steel. Taylor celebrates the fact that although Victorian-era industrial machines were created as work-horses, they still contained fanciful ornamentation such as serpentine swirls and lion’s feet, giving them a sense of establishment and power. Taylor situates his interest of technological innovations in industry, manufacturing, and communications to their long alliance to craft because they share a deep connection to purpose and function. Driving home the need for efficiency, the sculptures sit on self-contained dollies with ceramic wheels. The textured and creviced surface gives the impression of cast iron, giving the work an inherent aged quality and removes it outside of our own time. The enormity of the works makes them practically immovable and mirrors our powerlessness in relationship the inexhaustible self-propelling progress of industry. Meanwhile, the child-like faces in Stirrup Crucible and Gilded Crucible evoke the innocence of humans in the face of their own continued social and inventive development.

Bruce Taylor was born in Montreal and received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (1998). He joined the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Waterloo in 1993 where he works as Professor and Department Chair. He has also taught at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, the Emily Carr School of Art, and the Rhode Island School of Design. He has received several national and international prizes, awards, and grants and was the only Canadian to have had a work featured at the Olympic Park in Amaroussion Greece (2004 Olympics). His work is represented in the collections of The Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto, Burlington Arts Centre, Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery, Saint Mary’s University (Halifax), University of Waterloo, Tajimi City (Mino District, Japan), World Ceramic Center (Ichon, Korea) and the International Olympic Park in Amaroussion, Greece.

 

Joni Moriyama: A Mob of Meerkats

Joni Moriyama’s work takes us beyond conventional parameters of ceramic art and perception as we are taken on a voyage of discovery – a voyage that requires introspection and the ability to inter-relate with the subject while picking up on the details along the way. Her intuitive exploration of organic shapes, patterns, and textures, shows up in her use of colour, form, and surface (such as non-traditional glazing). Moriyama’s work reminds us that all organic beings bear distinct individual characteristics if one really takes the time to observe.

Moriyama’s work tells stories but there is no fixed narrative. In fact, Moriyama only sets the stage and the viewer is required to create their own stories. In her series of cast ceramic works, A Mob of Meerkats, Joni Moriyama has captured a potent moment in a clan of meerkats — one of the most co-operative societies in the animal kingdom. These highly-socialized beings all share in the rearing of the young within their group — taking turns to feed, watching for predators and guarding against intrusion from other clans. Moriyama sets the stage for anticipation but its subject remains somehow elusive. In this installation, a mob of meerkats are all staring in one direction, intently focused on something they have just seen, heard, or sensed, yet whatever it is, remains beyond our awareness.

Joni is an Assistant Professor at OCAD, the Ontario College of Art and Design. She is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and received her MFA from the New State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Her work has been widely exhibited and is represented in many galleries and collections including The Claridge Collection (Montreal), Burlington Cultural Centre (Burlington), Indusmin Collection/Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery, Jaques Isrealvich Collection (Toronto), M. Joan Chalmers Collection (Ottawa), Raphael Yu Collection, (Toronto), The Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art (Alfred, NY), and the Icheon World Ceramic Center in Icheon City, South Korea.