TORONTO, Canada — Toronto-based artist Shary Boyle is the winner of the Gardiner Museum’s national Ceramic Sculpture Competition to create a new public artwork that will join the striped Jun Kaneko head in front of the Museum on Queen’s Park.
Boyle’s proposal, entitled Vessel, was selected from among more than 60 applications from artists across the country, including finalists Christopher Reid Flock and Sin-Ying Ho, Linda Swanson and Paul Holmquist, and Brendan Lee Satish Tang.
A Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist and OCAD graduate, Boyle is widely acclaimed as one of the most exciting and prolific Canadian artists of the last decade, both nationally and internationally. She is perhaps best known for her fantastical and often unsettling porcelain figurines.
Boyle represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 2013, and has held solo exhibitions at the AGO, The Power Plant, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. Her work has also been featured in numerous group shows, including at the Gardiner Museum, the National Gallery of Canada, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montreal, the Glenbow Museum, MASS MoCA, and La Maison Rouge in Paris.
Boyle is proposing a 7-foot-tall vase—a voluptuous cartoon figure to compliment the squat, masculine silhouette of head.
“The sculpture tilts provocatively towards the viewer and the street, with a friendly nod towards the Gardiner’s front doors,” explains Boyle.
Mounted on larger-than‐life, childlike legs, the polished bronze and white clay reimagines the 18th-century European decorative tradition of ormolu. A gold-leafed map of cracks between each ‘shard’ pays homage to the reinvigorated 16th-century Japanese tradition of Kintsugi.
“Shary Boyle has established herself as one of the most unique and powerful voices in Canadian art. She has raised the profile of contemporary ceramics and continues to push the medium to exciting new places,” says Kelvin Browne, Executive Director and CEO of the Gardiner Museum. “Her proposal strikes a remarkable balance between the ability to charm and engage a wide audience while at the same time reflecting her deep knowledge of the history of ceramics and a strong contemporary aesthetic.”
The project is now entering the technical planning phase, with Karen Mills of Public Art Management coordinating the project. For more information visit the Gardiner Museum.
Text (edited) and images courtesy of Gardiner Museum.
Do you love or loathe this work of contemporary ceramic art? Let us know in the comments.