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Gardiner Museum

Janet Macpherson

Janet Macpherson

Slipcast porcelain, glaze, gold lustre


Memories of my Catholic childhood have had a significant impact on my life and work, and the religion formed the structure of my daily existence. The source material with which I surround myself has its roots in my religious upbringing, and comes from the margins of medieval illuminated manuscripts, depictions of monstrous races, and strange renderings of biblical scenes. I am interested in the corruptibility of flesh, the deformity of body, the unpredictability of nature, and the inevitability of death.

My work also revolves around the process of creating slipcast figures from readily available commercial moulds and moulds that I make from found objects. I take pieces from cast forms and attach them together in unusual ways, creating objects that are both familiar and strange. These objects live in a complicated space. They are emotionally loaded sculptures full of pathos and palpable intensity, but they are also tied to the world of ubiquitous collectible porcelain. Like the strange and often unsettling images I recall from my Catholic childhood, I am compelled to make things that make us wonder and compel us to look again.


Janet Macpherson attended York University and earned her Bachelor degree in Philosophy. She studied at Sheridan for three years and received her MFA in ceramics at The Ohio State University, and this was instrumental to the significant changes that have taken place in her work. After taking an intense course in mould making, she began making small-scale sculptural pieces using plaster moulds for slipcasting. Macpherson was awarded a Graduate Teaching Assistantship for two years, and then remained at The Ohio State University to teach as a lecturer in the Department of Art. She exhibited her new body of work at several venues in the United States including the 2009 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), National Student Juried Exhibition, in Philadelphia, The Sculpture Centre’s annual exhibition, “After the Pedestal” in Cleveland, Ohio where her piece was awarded Best in Show. Currently, Macpherson is Artist-in-Residence in the ceramics studio at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto.


Only recently having completed her MFA, Janet Macpherson has already produced a compelling body of work, a disquieting and eerily beautiful group of altered figurines.

Steven Heinemann, nominator
Ceramic artist, Cookstown, Ontario


Canadian ceramic artist Steven Heinemann lives and works near Cookstown, Ontario.

Since completing his MFA (Alfred University, 1983) he has taught widely in Canada and the U.S.A.  In addition, numerous residencies have taken him from Canada (Banff Centre) to the U.S.A. (Cranbrook Academy), Holland (EKWC), Hungary (ICS), and Korea (JINRO), among others.

Heinemann has exhibited continuously since his first solo exhibition at the Ontario Crafts Council in 1982; in 2012 he will show new work at Erskine, Hall, and Coe in London (group), and Galerie Elena Lee in Montreal (solo).  He is currently represented by six galleries in Canada, Europe, U.S.A,  and his work is in numerous public collections.  These include the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), Museum Of Fine Arts (Boston), Icheon World Ceramic Centre (Korea), National Museum of History (Taiwan),  the Museum of Art and Design (New York), Museum Boymans van Beuningen (Rotterdam), and The Contemporary Museum (Honolulu).

He has received many national and international awards including the Bavarian State Prize (Germany), the  Juror's Award (Mino, Japan) , Fletcher Challenge (New Zealand)  and in 1996 was granted the Saidye Bronfman Award, Canada’s highest recognition of achievement in contemporary craft.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Toni Hafkenscheid Photography

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