Rory MacDonald received his Masters of Fine Arts from the New York State College of Ceramics in Alfred, New York, his BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and a 4-year diploma (honors) from the Ontario College of Art Design. He has taught at a number of institutions in Canada including the University of Regina and NSCAD University, where he is currently Assistant Professor of Ceramics and Chair of the Craft Divisions.MacDonald was the 2007 winner of the Winifred Shantz Award for emerging ceramic artists in Canada. He is interested in the role of ceramics within the practice of craft, design and art. His work explores the history of industrial ceramic production and reveals his interest in the development of new public audiences and spaces for contemporary ceramics. Central to his current research is an exploration of the concept of public craft. His current work explores site-specific firings and new techniques for glaze applications to architecture and public spaces, while his studio work proposes ceramic objects that run interference with assumption of permanence in ceramics.
MacDonald’s work blurs differences between sculptural objects, “art,” and crafted functional objects. Curb Works (2003 and on-going) consists of glazed ceramic replacements for broken cement curbs found in run-down urban neighbourhoods. The project calls attention to areas of decay and questions “the value of material and actions within abject public spaces.”His current object work is focused on rethinking ceramic surfaces. Chalk Works (2008 and on-going) simulate some of the most revered work produced in ceramics, Chinese celadon and blue and white porcelain. The artist fires black slip-covered porcelain to cone 10. He then sands the forms, creating a “black board” like surface that accepts chalk. The works are deeply paradoxical in that they call attention to the haptic qualities so valued in elite ceramics, yet touching them “destroys” the surface. Ceramics are thought of as archives because the material is so permanent, and because surfaces and decoration record intimate aspects, ornaments and preferences relevant to the culture that produced them. Rendering surfaces in chalk transforms the archive into a palimpsest, a fragile and ever-changing membrane that responds to and records an ever-changing world. MacDonald suggests that the shifting surface can “become a new type of ceramic recording space.”
The lecture will take place Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 7:30 pm in room 245, NB, Emily Carr University. All are welcome and we look forward to seeing you there.