For seven years from 2005 to 2012, I was enrolled in ceramic sculpture courses at the Visual Arts Centre, Westmount, and at the Town of Mount Royal culture centre. I was uniquely interested in hand building pieces, not wheel-turned pottery. It was fun and I learned a lot but everything is supplied, the materials, the glazes, the kiln firing, et cetera.
I wanted to get into Concordia’s excellent ceramics sculpture program where everything is hands-on. Students make their own clay and glazes according to recipes based on chemical components. This process includes all types of firing on electric kilns, gas kilns, raku and sawdust firing. It’s a thorough initiation to ceramics and I found it very stimulating to be in an academic environment forty years after obtaining a B.A.
For three years from 2012 to 2015 I was an independent student, which was great because I only took one sculpture course a year, proceeding from the introductory to the advanced level. Apart from lectures once a week, I spent a lot of time in studio working on pieces. It was the way I had always envisioned university, being able to focus in-depth on a specific area of interest, and not be hounded by being put through the hoops of five courses a year to complete. Alas it is now finished and I have to think of finding studio space somewhere in a collective in order to continue.
In spring of 2011, I was a co-exhibitor at La Galerie/ The Gallery at Victoria Hall, Westmount, and sold 14 of 18 pieces. This exhibition helped to give me the credibility I needed to apply at Concordia. While there, for three years running (2013-2015) I had one or more pieces in the jury-selected annual student show, as well as exhibiting twice at the on-campus Locker Gallery. So things have gone well. In our final year we were asked to formulate an artist’s statement. I tend to eschew the hype of such endeavors. I love surrealism, the kinetic energy of ceramic sculpture, and the depth and sheen achievable with glazes. I like updating mythic themes. I did a Centaur Couple and Noah as a modern personage wearing a sou’wester, with an exotic bird perched on his head. I tend to draw a piece before I start so that I get the negative space right – a sculpture must be interesting from every angle. Influences – things in everyday life catch my eye. And I am moved by the cross-cultural sculpture of past millennia that still looks so fresh today. My vision statement: Art is the dialogue of civilization; it is everything that has gone before and is yet to come, and that often can only be intuited.