Mentor & Metalsmith

Wesley Harris

Artist Biography

Wesley Harris began silversmithing under his high school art teacher. Both this gentleman and his subsequent instructor at Cranbrook Academy of Art allowed Wesley to work independently and to learn by trial and error. During this time he thought a lot about creativity relative to one’s sources of inspiration, and this became the subject of his MFA thesis titled “Design: Approaches and Personal Philosophy”. 

The underlying inspiration in Wesley’s work is Nature. Its endless diversity within order parallels his own choice to create one-of-a-kind yet familiar objects. His work does not always quote Nature directly, but rather embodies its underlying principles such as fusion of form and function. Wesley lives in ruggedly beautiful western Newfoundland and his studio overlooks the ocean. 

Wesley works full time as a professional artist and creates high-end pieces. His website (www.wesleyharris.ca) features present and past work. The site also includes an educational tab called “Process” that shows how 32 of his pieces were made. In 2003 Wesley received a Canada Council grant to research the Japanese technique of mokume gane (woodgrain metal) and to create mokume hollowware. In 2015 Wesley was inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA). 

Mary E. Black Gallery recognizes the support for this touring exhibit that comes from Newfoundland Arts Council. 

Exhibition Statement

Mentor and Metalsmith takes us on a journey through the intertwined careers of two master jewelers. Wesley Harris has curated the late Arthur Brecken’s work into this exhibit as an homage to his profound influence. The exhibit constructs a narrative of the generosity and warmth Arthur Brecken offered to many students and jewelers in a lifetime spent perfecting his own craft. The aesthetic influence and mastery of medium shared between these two artisans is exhibited here in the interrelated bodies of work from two silversmiths. 

Mentor and Metalsmith is an exhibition of intricate sculptural works touring across Canada. Wesley Harris has produced an astounding body of work that explores the formal influence of nature & humor and exhibits the precise construction & cumulative process of exquisite metalsmithing. By curating Brecken’s work into his own, Harris visually articulates the benefit of mentorship on a life’s work, and the rippling effect such support has on a community of artisans. 

Acknowledgments

Published ©2021 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.

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