1 North Square, Cambridge, ON
Today, there is an increasing permeability between the realms of “craft” and “art” occurring in step with an emphasis on “reskilling” and the handmade, as seen in contemporary art practice and in the widespread interest in all things handcrafted. Making Otherwise presents the work of six Canadian artists who merge the material and conceptual approaches of craft and art. Drawing on their fluency in ceramics, basket weaving, furniture making, stitchery, bronze casting, woodworking, and knitting, these artists think through materials, forms, and ideas to make things differently or “otherwise.”
Artists: Richard Boulet (Edmonton, AB) Ursula Johnson (Eskasoni, NS) Marc Courtemanche (L’Ange-Gardien, QC) Paul Mathieu (Vancouver, BC) Sarah Maloney (Halifax, NS) Janet Morton (Guelph, ON)
Touring exhibition with publication curated by Heather Anderson, Carleton University Gallery (Ottawa, ON).
Opening: Friday Night ART Live, May 1, 7:00pm
Richard Boulet (Edmonton) creates large-scale quilted and cross-stitched textile pieces and drawings that are informed by modernism, mental health recovery, home and homelessness, sexual identity, and poetry. He completed a BFA at the University of Manitoba in 1987 and MFA at the University of Alberta in 2006. His work has been exhibited in the major solo show Stitched and Drawn, organized by Illingworth Kerr Gallery, which toured Canada with stops at the Textile Museum of Canada and aceart inc. The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie is preparing a solo exhibition of Boulet’s work for 2015.
Ursula Johnson is a Mi’kmaw artist based on the Eskasoni First Nation in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Her practice fuses traditional ash splint basketry techniques with performance in order to explore Indigenous identity. Johnson has performed and exhibited her work across Canada, and has participated in residencies at the Cape Breton University Art Gallery, University of Edinburgh, Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, Klondike Institute for Arts and Culture, Debajehmujig Creation Centre, and the Banff Centre. Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery in Halifax is presently touring Mi’kwite’tmn (Do You Remember), a solo exhibition of her work, across Canada. In 2011 Johnson curated a retrospective of her great-grandmother Caroline Gould’s basketry at the Mary E. Black Gallery in Halifax. She has a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (2006).
Marc Courtemanche (L’Ange-Gardien, QC) works with clay as if it were wood to create sculpture and installation. The trompe l’oeil quality of his works, which incorporate metal parts of hand tools, confuses the eye and foregrounds materiality, process, perception, and representation. Couretemanche completed a BFA at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1999 and MFA at the University of Regina in 2004. Courtemanche has participated in exhibitions at the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery, the MacKenzie Art Gallery, the Ottawa Art Gallery, and the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art.
Paul Mathieu (Vancouver) has worked with and written about ceramics for the past forty years, producing an extensive body of work that explores the social, cultural, and material roles of ceramics. His conceptual approach actively challenges the binaries between craft and art and the marginal place of ceramics within the art world. Mathieu’s work has been exhibited extensively in Canada and abroad, and is featured in the touring exhibition Camp Fires: The Queer Baroque of Léopold L. Foulem, Paul Mathieu, and Richard Millette. His work is held in collections of many Canadian and international institutions, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum for Contemporary Ceramic Art (Shigaraki, Japan), and the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art. In 2007 Mathieu was the recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts’ Saidye Bronfman Award.
Sarah Maloney (Halifax) explores femininity and the body through cast bronze, woodworking, crochet, and embroidery work. By producing furniture as a part of her sculptural practice, Maloney undermines traditional divisions of labour, in which men produced “hard” aspects of the interior while women decorated with “soft” materials. Maloney completed a BFA at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1988 and MFA at the University of Windsor in 1994. She has had solo exhibitions at the Kelowna Art Gallery, the Grenfell Campus Art Gallery, and the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and has participated in numerous group exhibitions across Canada.
For the past twenty years Janet Morton has used knitting, installation, performance, and sculpture to explore issues of labour, home and the domestic. The Guelph, Ontario based artist is known for several interventions in public spaces, including Cozy (1999-2000), a cover made of recycled, knitted sweaters sewn together, that was installed over an old cottage on Ward Island and on a free standing frame in Trinity Square Park in Toronto, and Before Flight (2012), a recent permanent sculpture made of metal and stone, installed in the Donald Forester Sculpture Garden at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre in Guelph. In several new video collaborations Morton explores ephemerality and challenges productivity by unraveling knitted sculptures that represent hours of labour. Morton holds a BFA from York University (1990) and is represented by Paul Petro Contemporary Art. Morton’s work is included in the collections of the Cambridge Galleries, The Royal Bank of Canada, Museum London, and in numerous private collections in Canada, Switzerland, India, and the United States.