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The Gardiner Museum is among the few museums in the world focused on ceramics, and is one of the most important specialty museums internationally. It houses approximately 4,000 objects, including European porcelain, ceramics from the Ancient Americas, Chinese porcelain, Japanese porcelain, and contemporary ceramics. Search the collection online!
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Curated by John K. Grande
Kathy Venter is internationally recognized for her life-size figurative sculptures that speak to the continuity of the human condition. Her art bridges her experience of living under Apartheid in South Africa with the freedom she found in Canada, and engages with a vast array of historical sources including the terracotta warriors of Ancient China, the Tanagra figures of Ancient Greece, Ancient Egyptian sculpture, the Amakweta tribal initiation rites, and the art of Marino Marini and Viola Frey.
The exhibition features a large installation of Venter’s sculptures which the artist produced in series, including One, Ostraca, Immersion, Coup d’Oeil and the never seen before MetaNarrative. Most of her figures are presented full-scale standing, sitting, reclining or suspended by cables in space, while others are limited to heads and torsos. Each work is direct and engaging; life-size and nude, they are a measure of our humanity. Their strong presence derives from the artist’s intimate engagement with her models, most of which are women, who posed over long hours in her studio.
Venter describes each work as “a slow construction” by which she “applied the clay, piece upon piece, within a silent dialogue between the model and myself, comfortable with my medium and tradition, accepting of their constraints.” The forms are built from the feet up using the traditional coiling and pinching techniques, without the use of life cast molds or internal armatures. They are made about 15% larger than life to account for the shrinkage of the clay during the drying and firing process. The sculptures’ surface treatment is inspired by the Tanagra figures of the Mycenaean period, encrusted and worn from centuries of burial.
About the Artist
Kathy Venter was born in South Africa and received her MFA in sculpture from Port Elizabeth School of Art and Design, South Africa. Her work can be found in public and private collections throughout Canada, the US and abroad, including the South African National Gallery, Pretoria, Ceramics Museum Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic, and the Gates Foundation, Seattle, WA.
She exhibits in leading contemporary fine art galleries in San Francisco, Sonoma, Palm Desert, Seattle, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. She lives in Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.
About the Curator
The exhibition is curated by Montreal author and critic John K. Grande. Grande has written numerous catalogue essays on selected artists and has taught art history at Bishop’s University, Quebec. His reviews and articles have been published in Artforum, Vice Versa, Sculpture, Art Papers, British Journal of Photography, Espace, Public Art Review, Vie des Arts, Art on Paper, Circa and Canadian Forum.
Exhibition Programs & Events
Tuesday May 28, 5:30 – 7 pm
Patron Circle Preview
Wednesday May 29, 10 am – 8 pm
Members’ Preview (12 – 1:30 pm: Lunch & tour)
Thursday June 6, 6:30 – 8 pm
Kathy Venter and the ‘Flesh of the World’
Sponsored by Dr. Lorna Marsden
Speaker: Dr. Elizabeth Legge, Associate Professor of Art, University of Toronto
Thursday June 20, 6:30 – 8 pm
Hands On: The Figurative Tradition in Terracotta Sculpture
Speaker: Dr. Betsy Bennett Purvis, Lecturer in Renaissance Art History, University of Toronto
Summer Life Drawing Sessions
Friday July 26, 6 – 8 pm
Friday August 9, 6 – 8 pm
Friday August 23, 6 – 8 pm
111 Queen's Park
Canada, M5S 2C7