The exhibition examines an artistic community linked by the aesthetic sensibilities and philosophy put forth by English potter Bernard Leach (1887-1979) and his Japanese colleague Shoji Hamada (1894-1978). The potters Lari Robson, Sam Kwan, Andrew Wong, Ron Vallis, Cris Giuffrida, Heinz Laffin, Vincent Massey, Martin Peters and Hiro Urakami share this lineage. Inspired and influenced by the first generation of Canadian potters who apprenticed with Bernard Leach at his pottery in St. Ives, Cornwall, the West Coast artists in this exhibition articulate an historical period in which the imaginations of many young potters around the world were captured by the studio pottery movement. The exhibition will include over one hundred pots, as well as a collection of educational and archival material including historical photographs, videos, reference books, and a Leach kick-wheel.
Nora Vaillant has worked in the field of ceramics as both a potter and an independent researcher for over twenty years. She is currently writing a book about the Leach-trained Canadian potter John Reeve. She is a contributing author to Thrown: British Columbia’s Apprentices of Bernard Leach and Their Contemporaries (2011), serves as a board member of the Potters Guild of British Columbia and is on the planning committee for the Canadian Clay Symposium. Her MA thesis at the University of British Columbia (2002) examined the aesthetic influences of Canada’s returning Leach apprentices on studio pottery and their subsequent effect on the community of 1960s West Coast collectors.
Shelly Rosenblum is Curator of Academic Programs at the UBC Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery. She received her PhD at Brown University and has taught at Brown, Wesleyan, and UBC. Her research interests include discourses of the Black Atlantic, critical theory, narrative, performativity, and issues in contemporary art and museum theory. Her teaching covers the 17th to the 21st centuries. Shelly’s role at the Belkin Art Gallery is to develop programs that increase outreach in both the University and the wider Vancouver community.
HIGH FIRE CULTURE is organized by the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia, and Satellite Gallery, and made possible with funding from the Doris Shadbolt Endowment for the Arts, the Michael O’Brian Family Foundation, the Hamber Foundation and the North-West Ceramics Foundation. The Curators’ Talk will take place on Saturday, May 25, at 4pm, at the Satellite Gallery (560 Seymour Street, 2nd Floor, Vancouver). All are welcome and encouraged to attend.