The Kootenay Gallery will open its new season with an exhibit of work by the internationally renowned ceramic artist Les Manning. The pieces found in Common/Opposites are a bold departure from his past collections which, while sculptural in spirit, were typically traditional, utilitarian vessels: pots, plates and bowls. The 19 sculptures making up this exhibition have been described as playful, using contrasting forms, textures and colours to reflect Manning’s personal experiences and knowledge of Canada’s landscape. His knowledge of his medium is obvious. He uses the qualities of ceramics to “describe” this landscape combining the rough, dark stoneware with smooth porcelain using intense glazes of pink, yellow, blue, green and orange. The result is an unexpected, yet delightful surprise.
Les Manning’s artistic career spans over 40 years, from studio potter to senior arts administrator. He is one of the founders of the Alberta Craft Council; he ran the prestigious Banff Centre ceramics program and was an active member of the International Academy of Ceramics. His work has been shown around the world and is held in private, corporate and public collections, including the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Les Manning received the Order of Canada in 2012.
The exhibition Common/Opposites was curated by Joanne Marion and its tour organized by the Esplanade Art Gallery, Medicine Hat, Alberta.
Also showing in the adjoining gallery space is the work of two West Kootenay ceramic artists, Robin Dupont and Pamela Nagely Stevenson. The title of their exhibition, Trial by Fire, reflects the specific technique used by these artists, ancient in its origins yet complex in its process. While time consuming and labour intensive, those who choose this method do so for the effects achieved. Years of commitment and dedication to perfecting their craft are reflected in the rich colours and textures found in their work. This exhibition is curated by Helen Sebelius.
The opening reception to be held on Friday, February 14 at 7 p.m. will include a dialogue between the artists and the curator in which they will discuss their choice of technique and how it informs their work.
For more information visit www.kootenaygallery.com.