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Steven Heinemann: Culture and Nature

Thu Oct 19 to Jan 21, All Day

Curated by Rachel Gotlieb

Read the Globe and Mail review

For the past thirty-five years, acclaimed Canadian artist Steven Heinemann has transformed the medium of ceramics in Canada. Working in varying scale, Heinemann explores the paradoxes between culture and nature, deliberation and chance, interior and exterior surfaces.

This first major retrospective examines Heinemann’s fascinating and evolving process to reveal how he uses form, texture, pigment, and imagery to achieve his wondrously tactile bowls, pods, and other universal shapes that embody the polarities between life and nature.

Heinemann’s process can stretch over months or even years, firing a piece multiple times, and reworking the surface by sandblasting, scratching, polishing, and stenciling to evoke glyph-like imagery. His studio is evoked in the gallery through an installation of sketchbooks and source material, including original photographs and a wall of ceramic test tiles. A time-lapse video shot by the artist documents a treated clay surface as it dries, warps, and cracks according to chance and calculation.

Click here to see Steven Heinemann in his studio discussing one of the works in the exhibition.

About the Artist

Since completing his MFA at Alfred University in 1983, Steven Heinemann (RCA) has taught widely in Canada and the United States. He has exhibited continuously since his first solo show at the Ontario Crafts Council in 1982, and his work is part of numerous public collections, including 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).

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

Heinemann lives and works near Cookstown, Ontario.

Exhibition Programs & Events

Tuesday October 17, 7 – 9 pm
Steven Heinemann: Culture and Nature In Conversation
Join exhibiting artist Steven Heinemann, Executive Director & CEO Kelvin Browne, and curator Rachel Gotlieb as they discuss how Heinemann’s artistic process has evolved through his lyrical investigations of containment, volume, and ornamentation.
$15 General / $10 Gardiner Friends
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Wednesday October 18, 10 am – 6 pm
Steven Heinemann Friends Day
Gardiner Friends are invited to join us for a sneak peek of the special exhibition Steven Heinemann: Culture and Nature.
Free with RSVP.
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Wednesday November 8, 6:30 – 8 pm
Artist Lecture: Steven Heinemann
Steven Heinemann reflects on his career as a Canadian contemporary ceramist and how philosophies of ecology, cosmology, and ancient artifacts have inspired his work.
$15 General / $10 Gardiner Friends
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Saturday November 11, 2 – 4 pm
Steven Heinemann: Culture and Nature Exhibition Walk-Through
Join Steven Heinemann and contemporary ceramics collector Raphael Yu for a walk-through of Culture and Nature.
$30 General / $25 Gardiner Friends
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Saturday November 18, 10 am – 4 pm
Master Potter at Work: Steven Heinemann
Steven Heinemann leads an intimate observation-based workshop in our Community Clay Studio for emerging, established, and curious ceramic makers, exploring key elements of his artistic process.
$30 General / $25 Gardiner Friends
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Saturday January 13, 1 – 3 pm
Steven Heinemann: Culture and Nature Exhibition Walk-Through
Join artist Steven Heinemann and exhibition curator Rachel Gotlieb for an in-depth walk-through of Culture and Nature.
$30 General / $25 Gardiner Friends
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Presenting Sponsors

The Thor E. & Nicole Eaton Family Charitable Foundation
Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin

Exhibition Partners

Gail & Mark Appel
David W. Binet
Lisa & John Eaton
Linda Frum & Howard Sokolowski
Barb & Dougal Macdonald
Diana Reitberger & Harry Beck
Jason Wong & Angela Jerath

Image: Steven Heinemann, farawaysoclose (detail), 2000, Collection of the Gardiner Museum, Purchased with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program, G01.3.1, Photography by Toni Hafkenscheid