Hybrid Land

Janet Macpherson

Migration Bridge
Slip-cast porcelain, paper clay, gold lustre, wood, paint, H. 90cm x L. 7metres x D. 60cm, 2017 Photo Credit: Toni Hafkensheid

Artist Biography

Janet Macpherson studied ceramics at Sheridan College, and received her MFA at The Ohio State University in 2010. After graduate school, she was granted an artist-in-residence position in the Craft Studios at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. Janet was the 2013 recipient of the Winifred Shantz Award for Ceramics, which funded a three-month residency at Zentrum fur Keramik in Berlin, Germany. Her solo exhibition A Canadian Bestiary was mounted by the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art in Toronto in 2017. Most recently her work was included in the exhibition Book of Beasts at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and in the Biennale Nationale de Sculpture Contemporaine, in Trois Riviere, QC. Janet teaches mould-making at Sheridan College, and she currently lives and works in Hamilton, Ontario.

www.janetmacpherson.com

Ghost, Slip-cast porcelain, paper clay, gold lustre
H. 48cm x W. 18cm x D. 18cm, 2020
Photo Credit: Ryan Legassicke

Exhibition Statement

Hybrids present us with two things happening simultaneously. They are in flux, one always alluding to and challenging the other. The borders between humans and animals, the manufactured and the natural, the spiritual and the corporeal are distinct yet permeable, illustrating differences while creating spaces for wonder and uncertainty. Influenced by my Catholic upbringing, I investigate hybridity within the context of Christian ideology, examining an array of sources from the margins of illuminated manuscripts, lives
of saints and martyrs to the depictions of medieval monsters. Medieval images of saints, their faces in expressions of tranquil serenity while being tortured and martyred, speak to Christianity’s paradoxical approach to the body that has been my lived experience. The visceral theatre of the Mass itself (the consumption of body and blood of Christ) set against the Catholic devaluation of pleasure, sexuality and other bodily realities, has long been a subject of inquiry for me. Monsters and hybrid creatures serve as commentary throughout religious manuscripts, complementing and antagonizing the text from their margins. They serve as portents; warning that depraved behaviour will be met by a mythical punishment.

This work has also been inspired by visits to agricultural fairs, where farm animals are clothed in protective fabrics, tethered tightly to posts, awaiting exhibition and judging. Using molds cast from found toy animals, religious statues, and hunting decoys I dismantle and re-compose these objects to create forms that subtly reveal a discomforting reality. Animal heads and bodies are interchanged, vegetation grows in peculiar places, and faces are masked and obscured. Wrapping forms in damp porcelain sheets, binding, bandaging the figures and contemplating the intentions of these gestures, I examine the boundaries between devotion and coercion, pleasure and pain, animal impulse and domesticity.

Migration Bridge (detail), Slip-cast porcelain, paper clay, gold lustre, wood, paint
H. 90cm x L. 7metres x D. 60cm, 2017
Photo Credit: Toni Hafkensheid

Falling Antelope with Pig
Slip-cast porcelain, paper clay, gold lustre
H. 12cm x W. 18cm x D. 7cm 2018
Photo Credit: Ryan Legassicke

Excess
Slip-cast porcelain, gold lustre
H. 20cm x W. 27cm x D. 16cm 2017
Photo Credit: Ryan Legassicke

Crushed
Slip-cast porcelain, paper clay, gold lustre, black underglaze
H. 14cm x W. 26cm x D. 30cm 2017
Photo Credit: Ryan Legassicke

The Mary E. Black Gallery invites you to explore a Hybrid Land which will fill the gallery with the curious and amorphous porcelain creations of ceramicist and sculptor Janet Macpherson. The exhibition will center on a massive work titled Migration Bridge – made up of almost 100 miniature hybrid animals in migration – which will take over the gallery space. This large-scale installation joins us from Hamilton Ontario where Janet Macpherson lives and works.

Working in slip cast mold making combined with other sculpture techniques, Macpherson’s pieces are detailed in highlights of gold luster and intricate surface detailing. Clearly referencing the source material of toy model animals used to create her molds, Hybrid Land presents creatures remade from edited parts, mismatched, and bandaged together, created anew. Macpherson “dismantle(s) and re-compose(s) these objects to create forms that subtly reveal a discomforting reality.”

The imagery in Hybrid Land denotes Macpherson’s Catholic upbringing by playing with spiritual imagery. “The borders between humans and animals, the manufactured and the natural, the spiritual and the corporeal are distinct yet permeable, illustrating differences while creating spaces for wonder and uncertainty.”

Aknowledgments

The Mary E. Black Gallery along with the artist would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council in helping make this exhibition possible. The artist would also like to thank the Ontario Arts Coucil and the Canada Council for the Arts for funds supporting the creation of this body of work.

    

Published ©2019 by the Centre for Craft Nova Scotia All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. All photography courtesy of the artist unless otherwise stated.

Share: