Images from this exhibition are available here.
Have you ever looked out on the prairie landscape dotted with neatly rolled haybales and wondered what it would be like to knit one? Winnipeg artist and craftsperson Kristen Nelson has. And she’s gone one step further, putting her knitting and crochet skills to work creating a life sized haybale that some Winnipeggers had the pleasure of seeing around town this summer, stationed in parking lots, near abandoned buildings, and even at City Hall. The resulting installation including haybale and photographs aptly titled “Hey Manitoba!” is just one of many works by over 20 local crafts-based artists included in the Manitoba Crafts Council’s most recent exhibition Craft: Culture/Counterculture.
“The exhibition title is intended to reflect the dual role that craft objects and materials can play in society: celebrating the everyday and expressing something of our collective identity while also challenging our assumptions about the way things are and expressing an alternative world view,” says exhibition organizer, Tammy Sutherland. The exhibition pushes the boundaries of what many people may think of when they imagine a craft show. “Overall, we were faced with a wide variety of creative processes that blurred the lines between art and craft,” says exhibition juror and artist Doug Melnyk. “Many pieces were excellent in terms of technical considerations, but the nicer surprise was the large number which were so personally expressive and so wildly experimental.” An innovative ceramic tea set that could easily be taken for plumbing fixtures by Mallory Ryan and two beautifully executed sculptures in mixed media offering astute social and political critique by Evelin Richter and Tibor Bodi are just a few examples of what will greet visitors to this exhibition.
Two annual awards were given out at the opening reception on September 17. The Marilyn Wolodarsky Levitt Prize for Functional Ceramics was awarded to Kelli Rey of Winnipeg for her colourful, quirky and humorous teapot from her series Poodle Herd and Friends. The Judith Ryan Memorial Award for Best in Show was awarded to Teresa Burrows of Thompson, MB for her ambitious and captivating beaded installation Caribou Women: Madre Primavera. Manitoba art audiences will be familiar with Burrows intricate beadwork through her submission to this year’s Rural and Northern Art Exhibition where she captured the Best in Show award. Burrows also has the honour of being one of only four Manitobans selected to exhibit work at the Cheongju International Craft Biennale (the Craft Olympics!) in Korea this fall. (Please see attached Word doc including images of these works.)
Other craft-based artists included in this exhibition are Aliza Amihude, Kathleen Black, Nancy Hall, Jo’Anne Kelly, Kathryne Koop, Tesh Kosowan, Alan Lacovetsky, Ingrid Lincoln, Elise Nadeau, Amanda Onchulenko, Gail Matheson, Kerri-Lynn Reeves, Jolanta Sokalska and, by invitation, jurors Marilyn Stewart Stothers and Lin Xu.
Image: Teresa Burrows, Caribou Women: Madre Primavera, Beads and mixed media, 2009