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January 25 - April 6, 2014
To describe someone as studious brings to mind qualities of diligence, attentiveness and quiet perseverance. This undoubtedly describes the artists in the exhibition but also playfully draws attention to time spent working in various studios and how that environment influences their work and process.
These artists are steeped in knowledge gained from exhaustive material study and imbued with the confidence and flexibility to subvert and abstract what they have learned. Guided, but not blindly lead by rich histories and time honoured techniques, they create fresh and insightful works.
For forty years this in-depth exploration of craft and design has been a core principle of Harbourfront Centre’s Craft & Design studios. This exhibition celebrates the considerable influence it has had on the careers of emerging artists, designers and craftspeople.
– Melanie Egan, Head, Craft & Design, and Patrick Macaulay, Director, Visual Arts, Harbourfront Centre
I am inspired by the rich histories of textile production, lace-making and the decorative arts. Focusing on themes surrounding knot-work and interlacement, my work explores the intersection between contemporary craft practice and digital technology. By taking imagery from traditionally hand-made objects and playing with methods of abstraction using Photoshop, I deconstruct formal patterns in unexpected ways to create a series of three-dimensional, large-scale, distorted views.
Over the past four years, my practice as a textile artist has continued to grow and shift in diverse and exciting ways. Working in the cross-disciplinary studio at Harbourfront Centre inspired my practice and gave me the opportunity to explore ways of working in alternate materials, collaboratively and on my own. Since completing my residency at Harbourfront Centre, I have experienced two sea-changes, including setting up my own live-work studio space and beginning full-time studies in the Industrial Design program at OCAD University. Through each of these studio spaces, I have faced challenges and have learned to work in new ways. While I value the quiet of working in my own studio at home, I am also excited at the opportunity to apply my skills to new design typologies, learn about cutting-edge and emergent technology and continue to explore tradition through innovation.
– Lizz Aston
Lizz Aston is a fibre-based artist, living and working in Toronto. She is interested in bridging gaps between traditional textile practice and contemporary art and design. Her work encompasses both sculpture and installation, including interactive and site-specific projects. Aston holds an Advanced Diploma in Crafts & Design from Sheridan (2009) and recently completed a three-year residency in the Textile Studio at Harbourfront Centre. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the 2012 RBC Emerging Artist Studio Setup Award. Her work has been exhibited across Canada and the United States, including shows in Toronto, Montreal, Pittsburgh, New York, Atlanta and California, as well as Australia and South Korea. This fall she has returned to full-time studies to pursue a second major in Industrial Design at OCAD University.
Lizz Aston is represented by Telephone Booth Gallery in Toronto.
The artist would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council.
I find parallels between the technique of crochet and the built world by experimenting with patterns and industrial materials in my work. I begin with the idea of weaving as the manifestation of humanity’s basic need to build and create. It is in this way that crochet becomes a metaphor for systems and patterns that are both organic and industrial.
I utilize the open setting of the Textile Studio at Harbourfront Centre as a space to explore and incorporate the skills and materials of craft practices into my work. Elements of textile design are combined with my experience with sculptural materials to create inventive tactile objects.
– Marianne Burlew
Marianne Burlew graduated with a BFA in Studio Art from York University in 2011 and has exhibited in Ontario at Gallerywest, Gladstone Hotel, Gallery 1313, Gallery 918, Harbourfront Centre, Livings Arts Centre of Mississauga, and Niagara Arts Centre. She has also exhibited in the United States at Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia, as well as at Art Factory in Paterson, New Jersey.
Jae Hyun George Cho
My respect for tradition and love for art and clay inform my practice. This allows me to express myself and seek universal validity without the boundaries of language and stereotype. By infusing abstracted classical nomenclatures with modernity, I am able to appropriate the notion of utility and construct multiple definitions within my work. Using the vocabulary of art, craft, and architecture, I aim to unfold preconceived constructs of classical values and traditions of ceramic practice.
Our job as artists is to communicate the thoughts and ideas that materialize in the studio. The multi-disciplinary studio setting at Harbourfront Centre brings a wider spectrum of possibilities and creativity to my work. My ability to express myself is a reflection of the level of techniques and craftsmanship refined and discovered through studio practice. My work depends on the synergy between cultivation of ideas through research and my understanding of the material fostered in the studio.
– Jae Hyun George Cho
Jae Hyun George Cho earned his BFA in Ceramics from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University and a Diploma in Ceramics from Sheridan College. He was awarded the NSCAD-Lunenburg Community Studio Residency position in 2010 and was accepted into Harbourfront Centre’s Artist-in-Residence programme in 2011.
The artist would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council.
As with sketching, my process begins with a line. By connecting lines I create planes and three-dimensional shapes. Beginning with the iconic form of cut gems, I have manipulated and removed lines, reducing the number of planes. These pieces retain a trace of the original, but something new is created. Their organic, geometric, minimal and dynamic forms convey my passion for innovative design and architecture.
My practice changed dramatically once I became an Artist-in-Residence at Harbourfront Centre. The multidisciplinary studio setting has encouraged a wider range of interaction between different materials and artists. Being surrounded by amazing artists inspires me to push myself to my limits. Unlimited access to the studio has granted me another level of freedom, since I’m able to work out ideas while they’re still fresh.
– Jay Joo
Originally from Korea, Jay Joo received his BFA in Jewellery and Metalsmithing from the Ontario College of Art and Design University. During these formal years, he acquired a diverse skill set that includes traditional fabrication, metalsmithing techniques such as chasing and repoussé, as well as computer-aided design. Most of his work carries a social commentary and address societal issue. He was accepted into Harbourfront Centre’s Artist-in-Residence programme and awarded a scholarship in 2012.
K. Claire MacDonald
Drawing upon my formal background and training in metalsmithing, I seek to re-examine my long-standing interest in painting through abstraction and manipulation of form. My paintings on metal are deconstructed into a multitude of tiny fragments, that I then form and combine using traditional metalsmithing techniques. The paintings become elusive entities of curling and intertwining planes that are suggestive of something once familiar.
Curiosity and the desire to move beyond my familiar pursuits are what drive my creative practice. Working in the shared studio space at Harbourfront Centre, I am energized by the connectivity across disciplines and constantly reflect upon craft as a form of visual thinking. This environment allows me to tenaciously push forward with my work by combining the skills and knowledge acquired from formal studio practice as a student, with the freedom to independently pursue and explore my inspirations.
– K. Claire MacDonald
K. Claire MacDonald is a graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, where she completed a BFA in Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing. She was born and raised in Nova Scotia, but is presently based in Toronto where she is an Artist-in-Residence at Harbourfront Centre. She has exhibited her work in shows within Canada and has also had her work included in several publications.
This piece is a collection of lines, a drawing in space where materials become the mark. I am interested in a line’s duality – its subtle quality versus its accumulative presence. This project came out of an exercise where I made a one different work in my studio each day for 10 days. I chose simple, readily available materials so that I could experiment more freely and openly. Paper, straws and toothpicks were among my many choices. Black Cloud is the result of gradually paring down, combining, altering, and then expanding the elements of my daily experiments within my studio. Within this work, I play with line, shape and surface.
Each of the studios I have worked in – from residencies, to schools, to my living room – has affected my work in scale, concept and approach. In the Craft & Design Studios at Harbourfront Centre, I was challenged with the scale of my work, I was given the opportunity to collaborate and my studio practice was public and transparent in this environment. At other residencies, I have been offered the opportunity to travel and explore different locations and my work has reflected this sense of adventure and discovery. In my home studio, I had the opportunity to focus and concentrate, to follow my own train of thought for a sustained amount of time. Now, I am working in a studio at Tyler School of Art where I am being pushed to explore, test and converse. In these different spaces, I have been thinking about the studio as incubator, test site, and generative space. I have been asking myself the question, Where does the studio end and the work begin?
– Amanda McCavour
Amanda McCavour holds a BFA from York University where she studied drawing and installation. Since graduating in 2007, she has participated in national and international exhibitions and has recently completed residencies at Harbourfront Centre, the Maison des métiers d’art de Québec in Québec City and the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture in Dawson City, Yukon. In the past year, she has received awards and scholarships from the Ontario Crafts Council, The Handweavers and Spinners Guild of America and The Embroiderers Guild of America. She currently lives in Philadelphia, PA, and is pursuing her MFA at Tyler School of Art.
Shape and Place refers to formal structure and the context it creates alongside time, location and belonging. Image and object inform one another, constructing an environment that deconstructs the framework of the space. The relationships of parts reveal the shifting perspectives of the frame.
The studio is a place of possibility. It is a space of experimentation and study. Working in the studio has always turned out to be a time of development, where making with equipment, tools, and material merges with thought and contemplation. For me, the studio becomes a site of guidance and discovery.
– Rachael Wong
Rachael Wong studies process and structure, investigating systems and perception. Through physicality and image, she explores the created context. Wong holds a BFA in Glass from Alberta College of Art and Design and a MFA in Sculpture/Dimensional Studies from Alfred University. She is a former Artist-in-Residence in the Glass Studio at Harbourfront Centre, as well as the Living Arts Centre of Mississauga. She received the 2010 RBC Award for Glass and has exhibited in Canada, the United States, South Korea, and Belgium. Her work is included in the collections of the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery and the City of Lommel, Belgium. Wong currently lives and works in Toronto.
The artist would like to acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
This project is based on my recent explorations with wax forms meant for casting in jewellery. The process of working with wax in this way is intuitive and reveals itself to me as I work. I start with a vague idea about a form I had previously studied but the final piece emerges from a constant flow of looking, interpreting and reflecting on the way I am affecting the material. The pieces explore my interest in pattern, texture and form, as well as fragility and the delicate nature of this process.
My experiences in the Craft & Design Studio at Harbourfront Centre shaped a great deal of my current creative practice. The residency afforded me the freedom to experiment and delve deep into projects, which taught me a lot about how to be an artist. Being part of the studio cultivated a passion in me for working in my medium and showed me how to be in love with what I do.
– Patrycja Zwierzynska
Patrycja Zwierzynska is a Toronto-based artist working in contemporary jewellery. She graduated from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in 2007 with a BFA in Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing. Often inspired by natural forms, her work is abstract, material driven and process oriented. She currently works at Studio HUDDLE, a co-operative, artist-run studio and gallery space in Toronto. Her work has been exhibited throughout Canada as well as internationally.