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Thu Mar 05 to Nov 08, 2020, All Day

Raw clay is emerging as a compelling medium for contemporary art, taking on new relevance as conversations around identity, visibility, and survival on our planet develop. From sticky and wet to dry and powdery, raw clay speaks to primal themes like the land, the body, and memory. Perhaps most significantly, clay reaffirms our essential connection to the earth. As digital screens come to dominate our vision and disconnect us from an increasingly threatened environment, clay takes on a critical role in resisting our withdrawal into the virtual.

Four new installations by leading artists working with unfired clay—Cassils, Magdolene Dykstra, Azza El Siddique, and Linda Swanson—invite you to discover new possibilities in an ancient medium. The artworks on display are all in flux and will transform throughout the exhibition.

The artists
Magdolene Dykstra
Azza El Siddique
Linda Swanson

CASSILS is a visual artist working in live performance, film, sound, sculpture and photography. They have achieved international recognition for a rigorous engagement with the body as a form of social sculpture. It is with sweat, blood, and sinew that Cassils constructs a visual critique around ideologies and histories. Cassils received their Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax (1997) and their Master of Fine Arts in Art and Integrated Media from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia (2002). Their work has been shown in exhibitions worldwide; solo exhibition venues include Perth Museum of Contemporary Art, Perth; Station Museum, Texas; and Ronald Feldman Gallery (NYC) and Trinity Square Video (Toronto). They have also received several awards, fellowships, and residencies, including support from the Canada Council for the Arts (2020), John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2018), and Creative Capital (2015). Cassils is a Villa Bellagio Rockefeller Foundation Fellow.

Magdolene Dykstra
Magdolene Dykstra is a first generation Egyptian-Canadian. After studying both biology and visual arts in undergraduate studies, she received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Magdolene has participated in residencies at the Medalta Historic Clay District (Medicine Hat, Alberta) and the Watershed Center for Arts and Crafts (Newcastle, Maine). Her work has been exhibited internationally, and is included in collections around the world. She lives in the Niagara region of Ontario where she is a passionate artist-educator, teaching at secondary and post-secondary levels.

Azza El Siddique
Azza El Siddique (b. 1984 Khartoum, Sudan) received an MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2019 and a BFA from Ontario College of Art and Design University in 2014. She was a participant at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2019. Past exhibitions include Begin in smoke, End in Ashes, Helena Anrather, NY; let me hear you sweat, Cooper Cole, Toronto; and Material Tells, Oakville Galleries, Ontario.

Linda Swanson
Linda Swanson’s work engages the enigmatic properties of matter at an elemental level and the capacity of wonder to question how and what we know. Her raw and kiln fired ceramic works have been exhibited across the United States, Canada, and Europe. Swanson studied ceramics at the Tekisui Workshop in Ashiya, Japan, following a BA in Art History from UC Santa Barbara, then a BFA in Ceramics from Cal State Long Beach and an MFA from Alfred University. Since graduating in 2005, she has taught at Alfred University, the Kansas City Art Institute, and currently teaches at Concordia University in Montreal.

Programs and events

Up to and Including Their Limits
February 20, 7 pm
Join the Gardiner for the world premiere of a new performance by Cassils.

Friends Day | RAW
March 4, 10 am – 9 pm
Gardiner Friends are invited to join us for an exclusive preview of the exhibition before it opens to the public.

Slow Art Day
April 4, 1 – 2 pm
Take part in Slow Art Day by contemplating RAW’s four multi-sensory installations. Participants will be invited to experience each work for 10 minutes, followed by a group discussion.

Earth Day
April 22, 6:30 – 8 pm
Celebrate Earth Day at the Museum by joining us in a free, family-friendly earth ball-making workshop.

Co-Presenting Sponsors

Kim Spencer McPhee Barristers PC; The Rooney Family Foundation

Paint Sponsor

Farrow & Ball logo

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. canadacouncil.ca

Canada Council for the Arts; Conseil des arts du Canada

Header image: Installation photo by Toni Hafkenscheid