Neil Forrest: Engineering Solutions: Ornament to Installations

Neil Forrest

The North-West Ceramics Foundation is pleased to announce its next presentation on Sunday, February 25, 2024, at 1pm, featuring Nova Scotia artist Neil Forrest. The presentation, which will take place over Zoom, is free and open to all, but registration is required. Please see here or below for how to register.

Neil Forrest is an internationally known ceramic artist whose work has been the subject of numerous catalogue essays, articles and reviews. He has exhibited his work in Korea, Hong Kong, Scandinavia, Scotland, The Netherlands, Canada, and the United States. He earned a Diploma in Ceramics from Sheridan College of Design and Craft, a BFA in Ceramics from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI, and an MFA from Alfred University, New York State College of Ceramics. He was a professor at NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, from 1987 until his retirement in 2021, and a research professor at The Oslo National Academy of the Arts in Norway from 2011 to 2015. He is also a prolific writer who has published or presented his ideas internationally in journals and conferences.

Forrest’s early ceramic works experimented with contemporary visions of ornament and consisted of large assemblages designed to colonize built spaces. For example, Hiving Mesh (1999 – 2002) originated in the study of abscessed cones from a conifer tree found near his home. Forrest writes, “Hiving Mesh begins a study of post-modern architecture and finding ways in which ceramics could function as a rhizome…variegated volumes but commanding a more porous type of synthetic landscape.”

Hard Transits, 2013, stoneware & lead glazes, metal fittings, drawings. Installation dimensions:4 m L. x 4 m W. x 2 m H.OR 16’L x 16’W x 6’D

More recent installations such as Hard Transits (2013) pursue ideas about architecture and specific historical events, highlighting relationships between modernity and national identity. Another major work, Porøs, (2015 – 2017) associates ideas about architecture, craft, and landscape, and consists of “a collection of cisterns that distribute, filter and atomize water. Soluble chemicals evaporate and deposit crystalline formations on porous ceramics forms. . . The project originated with a question about material porosity and how to engineer active geological and chemical processes as a kind of derelict factory or obdurate garden.  Porøs is a metamorphism of science and ethnography in as geo-physical landscape.”

Porøs, Borgund Church, 2014-17, 14 m L. x 11 m W. x 1.6 m H
Media: air compressor, pump, plumbing, CNC milled porcelain, hand built stoneware, cultivated crystals, expanded steel mesh.
Funded by Norwegian Artistic Research Program + KHIO.

In his talk Engineering Solutions: Ornament to Installations, Forrest will discuss how his ideas and goals have motivated bespoke technical solutions. Envisioning the studio as a place of evolving projects that might respond to idiosyncratic discoveries (a clumsy wood doll from Upstate New York), or capitalizing on the problem of clay’s porosity (having observed effloresce on ceramic and rock), he has developed an individualized approach to each. In tandem, he has engaged the marvellous history and artistic achievement of ceramics, constantly positioning his discipline as both companion and nemesis. Illustrating several large projects in this lecture, he will break down the relationship of concept to technique and the many choices and uncertainties encountered along the way.

Neil Forrest’s talk will take place over Zoom on Sunday, February 25, 2024, at 1pm. The talk is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register, please click on this link, which will take you to a sign-up form.

We look forward to seeing you there!

For more on Neil Forrest, please see here.

To receive periodic email updates about upcoming NWCF events, please see here.