Monday, May 05, 2008

EXHIBITIONS: Pleasure-Purpose at the OCC Gallery (May 8-June 6, reception: May 8)

Presented by the
Ontario Crafts Council Gallery
990 Queen Street West

Click here to enlarge

Curated by Janna Hiemstra
May 8 - June 6
Opening Reception May 8, 5:30 - 8:30

Featuring Participating Artists: Alain Belanger, Ann Mortimer, Anne Barros, Carolyn Scandiffio, Janna Burford, Keith Campbell, Kevin MacLean, Lily Yung, Maciej Dyszkiewicz, Michael Fortune, Peggy Mersereau, Roger Wood and Tara Bursey.

Craft is a slippery entity. Occupying multiple spaces, it is able to take full advantage of its flexible margins to play with materials, techniques and its creative rationale. Craft can delight,comfort, confront and satisfy in more ways than one.

At the same time, attempts to pin craft down often result in defined categories of materials, processes and uses. A common approach situates craft somewhere between art and industry - a place where craft objects are not quite required to accommodate the contemplative relation between form and content, but rather operate as either decorative or functional pieces.

Within this framework, craft is often associated with a creative skill developed in terms of specific materials like ceramic, fibre, glass, metal and wood. These skills and materials further include the notion of the ‘handmade’, which carries with it implications regarding craft processes and purposes such as originality and authenticity, locality as well as anti-industrialism. As an aesthetic discipline rooted in the arts and craft movement of 19th century Europe, in turn influenced by the industrial revolution, these implications are not surprising.

However, along with many other things in creative culture,borders have been crossed, and lines blurred. Contemporary craft easily negotiates the territories between functional, ornamental, sculptural and conceptual genres. One indication of this is the capricious category of ‘mixed media’ where materials converge, new materials like plastic are used, and found objects make an appearance. Craft can also be found across the cultural map in museums, galleries, schools, magazines, and the fashion industry; and is made, used, displayed, contemplated and discussed by a large and diverse mix of people.

In response to this seemingly amorphous area of making, PLEASURE-PURPOSE is an attempt to navigate craft and question its contemporary role; leaving space for the work to speak for itself, and allowing contradictions between different approaches to surface. With an array of multidisciplinary work by both emerging and professional craftspeople, different objectives and uses are contrasted to challenge boundaries and create discussion concerning the pleasure we find in craft and what we perceive its purpose to be. For all intents and purposes, craft is a unique embodiment of creative expression that needs to be explored.


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