The Narrative Dish @ the Sask Craft Council

The Narrative Dish
Selected by ceramic artist and musing about
mud blog editor, Carole Epp; the exhibition The
Narrative Dish
brings together a group Canadian ceramic makers whose work
makes significant investigations into the use of narrative and imagery on
functional tableware. Specifically, this is a group of six female artists whose
awareness and understanding of each other’s professional practices makes for
the perfect storm, or maelstrom if you will, of storytellers.
Fundamentally, what makes a good story…how
does one weave a good narrative and what is the best way to get that story to
stand the test of time? Of course there is the tradition of passing down
stories through oral legacies and by means of pen and paper. Storytelling
formats include everything from audio and videotape, book and newspaper and
currently all sorts of technological and virtual formats as introduced via the
computer times we now live in. Let us add to the list the realm of art…and more
specifically ceramics that has a far-reaching history of serving as a narrative
conduit. An indelible and permanent material, clay materials long outlive its
makers, stand all sorts of tests of time and by virtue serves as the one of the
most perfect vehicles for story telling.
The predominance of narrative imagery that
graces the functional ware of virtually every ceramic-producing culture throughout history has
long since depicted the people, values and culture. In effect, the practice of
placing and impressing imagery upon a material of such permanence has served as
a record keeper of sorts that continues to this day. It is the longstanding
lineage of such a practice that served as an inspiration for bringing together
contemporary artists for an investigation into contemporary Canadian portrayals
of social narrative.
As core values in society shift slowly but
noticeably towards a reaffirmation of the value of the handmade, these artists
represent a new generation of clay artists who are using their chosen medium to
depict our times in the most intriguing of ways. Some of the artists embrace
and employ their narrative ceramic practice through au so courant illustrative means
that are currently trending through “indie” design aesthetics while others opt
for a more humble retelling of contemporary narratives. Some retell and record
their stories with a sense of refined grace that has rubbed off on us via the
world of graphic design while others employ a visceral meat-and-potato approach
to aesthetics more akin to the worlds of folk art, comics and cartoons. Using
the concept of the narrative as a vehicle for their artistic endeavors, each of
the selected artists in this exhibition is well versed, and ergo, serve as
prime examples of how specific technical and aesthetic choices make for the
retelling of their stories in the most unique ways. These artists I believe have  captured a feel for the culture and
interests that comprise contemporary Canadian society today.
While a diverse and broad range of ceramic
practitioners currently work within the genre; thus affording a large breadth
of artists to select from, these particular makers were selected to represent a
certain subsection within the genre. Each of the artists help to identify
either a specific female narrative; a generational narrative, a design based
aesthetic and even narratives of a geographical nature.
Participating artists:
Elizabeth Burritt, Jenn Demke Lange, Cathy
Terepocki, Mariko Paterson, Carole Epp, Aura Carney
Please check out the exhibition online here.