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Modern & Contemporary Ceramics

Encompassing works by leading figures in the history of ceramics, the Gardiner Museum’s modern and contemporary collection shows the remarkable breadth of styles and approaches from the postwar period to the present day. Holdings illustrate the continued endurance of studio pottery alongside works exemplifying movements that sought to release the medium of clay from its functional imperative, from abstract expressionism of the late 1950s to the conceptual and post-modern approaches of the 1980s and 90s. Modern and contemporary works equally demonstrate the importance of clay as a medium of sculptural expression.

The field of ceramics today is rich and varied. The current generation of ceramists takes the medium in multiple directions. In their work they show consciousness of history and popular culture, use the medium to tell stories, and borrow from industrial techniques such as transfer-printing and mould making. Ceramics are also used in the conception of multimedia work.

The Gardiner Museum’s collection of modern and contemporary ceramics includes works by Canadian, American, and international artists and has become a major focus of collecting.

Explore Modern & Contemporary Ceramics

1. Janet Macpherson, Collapsed Deer Head, North of North Series, 2015, Gift of the Artist, G17.8.1

2. Adrian Saxe (b.1943), D'Nile (detail), C.2004, Gift of Helen Gardiner and Frank Lloyd, G05.8.1a-c

3. Greg Payce (b.1956), Apparently (detail), c.1999, Purchased with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program, G04.19.1; Gift of the Artist, G05.13.1. Photographer: Toni Hafkenscheid

4. Gertraud Möhwald (1929-2002), Head with a Dim of Hair (detail), 2002, Gif of Alan Mandell, G14.6.1a-b