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Trio of ceramic shows at Surrey Art Gallery

Tam Irving, Song for Morandi 3, 1994; stone ware, wood and stucco. Collection of the Surrey Art Gallery. Below is Brendan Tang
Tam Irving, Song for Morandi 3, 1994; stone ware, wood and stucco. Collection of the Surrey Art Gallery. Below is Brendan Tang's piece, Manga Ormolu 5.0-c, 2009, 16' x 11'. Collection, Kamloops Art Gallery.
— image credit: Photo by Scott Massey

Three separate art shows featuring Canadian ceramic artists open at the Surrey Art Gallery this weekend.

• The future is already here: Alex McLeod and Brendan Tang

What if the cyberworld of video games entered the frame of 19th century western landscape painting? Or if Ming Dynasty-style ceramic vessels fused with the cartoon pop of contemporary anime? In Surrey Art Gallery’s new exhibition, The future is already here, artists Alex McLeod and Brendan Tang deploy an arsenal of Asian and Western historical styles, science fiction, popular culture, and new technologies as they combine ceramics, photography, and projected video to create mesmerizing fantasy worlds that probe the boundaries between the real and the virtual.

The heart of the exhibition is a collaborative mixed-media installation by Tang and McLeod that blends digital projection with ceramic sculpture. Each artist is also represented by a selection of independent work. Inspired by video games, Romantic landscape paintings, and dioramas, McLeod’s surreal environments depicted in large panoramic photographs exist in their own indeterminate time and space. Tang’s colourful and wildly incongruous Manga Ormolu ceramic vessels fuse Asian and Western historical decorative styles with pop art forms derived from Japanese anime and manga. Guest curated by Rachel Lafo.

• Ornamentalism: Clint Neufeld and Dirk Staschke

In Ornamentalism, Staschke and Neufeld's elaborate ceramic objects are both familiar and strange: heaping mounds of fruits and vegetables showcased alongside towering trays of brightly decorated desserts, and pastel coloured automobile engines resting atop elegant furnishings. With their rich folds, symmetries, and symbolic textures, these sumptuous candy-coloured sculptures present rich visual allegories that bridge desire, labour, and leisure. Organized by Surrey Art Gallery’s curator Jordan Strom.

• Beyond the Vessel’s Edge: Ceramics from the Permanent Collection

In Beyond the Vessel’s Edge: Ceramics from the Permanent Collection, the functional gives way to the sculptural in this collection of ceramics by artists John Chalke, Tam Irving, Ian Johnston, Sally Michener, Alwyn O’Brien, Linda Stanbridge and Diana Lynn Thompson. Organized by Surrey Art Gallery assistant curator Brian Foreman.

All three exhibitions launch on Jan. 19 with an opening reception from 7:30-9:30 p.m. At 6:30 p.m, guest curator Rachel Lafo leads a conversation with Alex McLeod and Brendan Tang.

The exhibitions continue until March 24. Admission is by donation. The Surrey Art Gallery is located at 13750 88 Ave.

 

 

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