True Nordic: How Scandinavia influenced design in Canada @ the Gardiner Museum

October 13, 2016 to January 8, 2017

Produced by the Gardiner Museum and curated by Rachel Gotlieb and Michael Prokopow

Exhibition design by Andrew Jones Design / Graphic design by q30 design inc.

This landmark exhibition explores more
than seven decades of Nordic aesthetic influence in Canadian design.
Examining the ways that modern Scandinavian design was introduced to
Canada and how its aesthetic principles and material forms were adopted
and adapted by Canadian artisans and designers, True Nordic will present a comprehensive, critical survey of Canadian furniture, ceramics, textiles, metalwork, and glassware. 

Scandinavian design initially reached
Canada’s elite consumers and style-makers via museum and gallery
exhibitions, showrooms, small retail shops and articles and
advertisements in popular decorator magazines. However, it was the
dynamic influx of émigré craftspeople from Scandinavia who both affirmed
and vernacularized the aesthetic in Canada and who shaped profoundly
the country’s design and craft movement from the 1930s onward. What was
broadly known as “Danish modern” became synonymous with ideas about good
design, and “comfortable and gracious living.” Capitalizing on the
market opportunities presented, Canadian manufacturers added
Scandinavian design to their conservative repertoire of colonial and
historicist offerings and called these lines, Helsinki, Stanvanger,
Scanda and so on. The culminating section of the exhibition will ask why
Scandinavian and Nordic aesthetics continue to resonate with so many
contemporary Canadian designers and artisans at work today.

Featured artisans include: Carl Poul
Petersen, Ernst and Alma  Lorenzen, Janis Kravis, John Stene, Karen
Bulow, Kjeld and Erica Deichmann, Lotte Bostlund, Thor Hansen, Rudolph
Renzius,  Sigrun Bulow-Hube, Ruth Gowdy McKinley, Niels Bendtsen, Sean
Place, Mjolk, Stephanie Forsythe, and Todd MacAllen. 
For more info and related events:

Upcoming events @ the Gardiner



Wednesday January 16, 2013, 6:30 – 8 pm

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Speaker: Kate Hyde, ceramic artist

Ontario-based artist Kate Hyde discusses her work in the exhibition Harlequinade and
the impact of theatre on her artistic practice. The talk will be
followed by a focused tour of the Museum’s permanent collection in which
the artist will highlight objects that have influenced her development.

The Vase Project celebrates the art of copying and the role
of the usually anonymous artist in Jingdezhen. Working with 101 blank
vases, the curators created a visual chain letter selecting factory
workers and painters from independent workshops around the city to copy
and hand‐paint a blue-and-white contemporary landscape based on their
original sketch of the smoke stacks of Jingdezhen.

The project took place sequentially over a two year period: the
first factory artist received the sketch which he/she copied on a blank
vessel which was then fired and passed on to the next artist to copy
on a new identical blank vase and so on.

The Vase Project exhibition reveals that even when working
by rote or mimetically the anonymous artist’s individual brushstrokes
contribute to a singular one-off aesthetic within mass‐production.

Curated by Barbara Diduk, Charles A. Dana Professor of Art at
Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in collaboration with Zhao
Yu, Assistant Professor at the Hunan Normal University, Changsha, China

This exhibition explores the recent allure of China on Canadian
ceramicists. In the past few years, numerous ceramic artists have
attended residencies and exchanges in Fuping and Jingdezhen, replacing
the tradition of visiting Japanese folk (Mingei) potteries, in search of
authentic experiences.

The exhibition traces this new direction and how/if it has re-shaped
ceramic practice in Canada. Themes include contemporary Western
interpretations of Asian iconography, the relationship between the
handmade and mass production and the endurance of blue-and-white (Qing

Go East features work by nine artists from across Canada
that were made in China or inspired by their experience of living
there. Artists participating in this exhibition are: Susan Collett, Jackson Li, Sin-ying Ho, Rory MacDonald, Sally Michener, Ann Mortimer, Paul Mathieu, Walter Ostrom and Diane Sullivan.

Curated by Rachel Gotlieb


JAN 14: PANEL DISCUSSION: Engaging with Ceramic Processes in Contemporary Art with artists Clint Neufeld and Linda Sormin. Moderated by Mona Flip, Curator of the Koffler Gallery
JAN 16: LECTURE: Under the Influence: The Harlequin Effect with artist Kate Hyde
JAN 25: LUNCH + LEARN: Susan Swan: The Western LightFEB 9: TRANSFORMATION BY FIRE: Hands-On WorkshopFEB 12: LECTURE: Married to Pottery: A Life of Uncertainty with Senior Curator Rachel GotliebFEB 14: JAMIE KENNEDY VALENTINE’S DINNER

111 Queen’s Park
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 2C7
tel +1 416.586.8080

Upcoming talk @ the Gardiner Museum (Toronto)

PHOTO: Bombe vase designed by Keith Murray for Wedgwood, 1930


Tuesday March 27, 2012, 6:30 – 8 pm Speaker: Rachel Gotlieb, Senior Curator Rachel Gotlieb, design scholar and Senior Curator at the Gardiner Museum, initiates the new Form and Function series with a lively talk about the important role of the designer in historical and contemporary ceramics. From Christopher Dresser, Susie Cooper, Keith Murray to Hella Jongerius and Marcel Wanders, she will discuss how designers enhance the functionality as well as foreground new styles and aesthetics in ceramic objects.

$15 General Public
$10 Gardiner