Sunday, 17 July 2016

Event 1: Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery

This Thursday, I visited the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery in Waterloo, Ontario. It was a sunny afternoon and I had the privilege of having the gallery to myself. The exhibition included pottery and glassworks from the past century to present, and featured artists mainly located in the Southeastern part of Canada. I was able to experience a melange of cultures and inspirations from these artists, and further my understanding of Two Cultures and its presence in art.
Proof of attendance (I couldn't find any gallery personnels except for a lady at the gift shop)
The first type of artwork I encountered was the use of glass tubes and electricity to create dynamic patterns and shapes. Upon examination, I was immediately reminded of the artworks honoring Michael Faraday, the late English scientist and pioneer of electrochemistry. The artist uses the product of industrialization as a modern medium for art, and the wall art titled "Statistics" was reminiscent of early-20th century neon signs. The convergence of electricity and glass created a dynamic, yet artificial aesthetic that preindustrial materials such as paper and clay could not mimic. This type of creativity inspired me to considered the new materials society is engineering with current technologies, and how they could be applied in art to provoke new sensations.

Glass and electricity - intersecting art and science

The second exhibition is a "functional acoustic wall treatment" made from clay paper - recycled paper pulp mixed with porcelain - to represent the handmade stitch patterns of textiles of the bygone era. This is an interesting mix of present-day concepts and technology with traditions and memoirs of the past. Like the author said, the concept of using clay paper to model the handmade objects of the past is an experimentation of blurring the lines between "art" and "design", where the former is less considerate of intuition and the latter is constrained by functional, economical, and sociological boundaries. This resonates with the unit of Two Cultures, where the coming together of the two challenges conventional distinctions between art and design, and enables a new freedom in expression.
Reconstructing heritage with unconventional recycled materials 
 The final exhibition was the creations of a biochemist who incorporated elements of biology and mathematics into her artistic products. This includes a clay cup painted with mathematical fractals, and a bowl with butterflies on the edges. Her work is again reminiscent of past units which depicted the relationship between Biotech, Mathematics, and Art, and how artists are combining such cultures together in their experimentation with contemporary art.
Rhonda Uppington is a biochemist who incorporates elements of nature in her art pieces
Mathematical fractals in nature
Incorporating biology into art 
Finally, I encountered an artist who is an engineer by occupation, but found new forms of expression through glass. I was inspired by this obvious bridge between the science and art cultures, which affirmed certain ideas mentioned in C.P. Snow's writing - that artists and scientists are inherently similar in style, and the intersection between art and science should be encouraged. 
Renato Foti is an engineer who uses glass art to explore emotions and perception
 Overall, I found this gallery to be an impressive collection that demonstrated the intersection between innovation and art. It provides evidence for the impact of modern technology in the minds and works of contemporary artists, and encourages the audience to embrace and appreciate a new era of creativity.

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