Steel, paint. 2017
Other work by artists: Lari Robson, Yuki Kimura, Anne Low, Derya Akay, Maggie Groat, and Sonnet L’Abbé
Nanaimo Art Gallery
July 20th - September 17th 2017
Curated by Jesse Birch and Emma Metcalfe Hurst
Dream Islands is a group exhibition that takes the work of late Salt Spring Island-based potter Lari Robson (1942-2012) as a central point of inspiration. The exhibition features Robson’s pottery alongside new artworks by Derya Akay, Vanessa Brown, Maggie Groat, Yuki Kimura, and Anne Low, with writing by Sonnet L’Abbé that navigate islands of the imagination through intersections between art and craft practices.
As a creator of refined and useful pottery, Robson maintained a devoted and humble practice as an island potter. He sold vases, mugs, tea bowls, lidded jars, casseroles, jugs, serving bowls and other dishware every Saturday at the Salt Spring Island Farmers Market. He made personal and lasting relationships with his patrons and his community, and his pottery continues to be used and treasured in many households on Saltspring Island and beyond.
In December 2016, Nanaimo Art Gallery received a generous donation of ceramics from the estate of Victoria-based Curator and Art Historian Diane Carr (1941-2016) which included a unique stoneware jug made by Robson in the 1970s. Jugs are inherently social objects: they constantly empty themselves out through the act of giving. This spirit of reciprocity became a guiding inspiration for the exhibition.
For the occasion of Dream Islands, each participating artist was gifted a pot of Robson’s to live with, and reflect on while creating new works for the exhibition. Through a variety of different media including weaving, metalwork, and blown glass the artists employ the materials and labours of craft, but as contemporary artworks, these creations avoid the burden of use. The artworks will be on display in dialogue with a selection of Robson’s pots borrowed from personal and private collections of his patrons, friends, and family, now also liberated from their daily use through new social and aesthetic encounters shared in the gallery.