Monday, 15 October 2012

Nicola Hawkins on the cover of Studio magazine

The Collector by Nicola Hawkins, from her Junkosphere show.

The news is a little late but it is still good news.  The Fall/Winter 2012 issue of Studio magazine is making the rounds of subscribers and newsstands and our very own Nicola Hawkins' work graces the front cover.  This was a lovely surprise.  I knew to expect that my review of her Junkosphere would be included in the issue but it was great news to hear from the editor that her work was being considered for the cover and even better news to hold the issue in my hands and see her handsome Spud bin gleaming at me in all its sunshine colours.  Hers is a case of the most inspired of recycling and certainly at the forefront of a trend in both art and craft.

This is curious.  I have always maintained that politics changes art and not vice versa and I am happy to say maybe I just might be wrong.  It is likely that with so many artists and craftspeople using repurposed materials that we can keep the issue of environment and ecology in front of the public and make them regard their personal environment as a sphere where the individual does make a difference.

I had the pleasure of having home made pizza delivered to our house by Nicola and her husband Andy Perlis recently and a chance to chat post the publication of the review.  She was a very happy camper.  What made me smile is that she thanked me for calling her a seductress in the review.  Why do I think this is important?  Nicola Hawkins has a way of making of us think about ugly truths by using beauty to tempt us to linger… The natural reaction to ugly situations is just to want to walk away, to avoid pain, to avoid conflict.  But Hawkins' giant collages drew us in with their well designed come hither.
This is very strategic for a variety of reasons.  But I will elaborate on only one.
An example of Dabinett's portrayal of the undersea world and its citizens.

Diana Dabinett, whom I still think of a watercolour artist who occasionally paints on silk, taught me this.  I was in her studio and we were discussing her approach to the landscape and the glittering, multicolour undersea worlds.  I was concerned that people might dismiss her work as "pretty".  She patiently explained to me that she cared passionately about the natural environment both on land and off.  We discussed her options: paint the ugly stumps of clear cutting or paint the beauty of the forests and oceans.  Which would people fall in love with?  Which would people want to protect?  All of a sudden, I understood that beauty had a function quite apart from the visually pleasurable, the rules of harmony or composition.  It was subtle and it was political.  And I believe true.

An example of Lucky Rabbit's juicy bowls.

A final good news note:  The most recent brochure from the Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery (happy 40th anniversary to MSVU art gallery) announces its recent acquisitions.  And they are, drum roll please, a spectacular bowl by Lucky Rabbit Pottery (Debra Kuzyk and Ray Mackie) from their Chinese series and three of Ray Mackie's mysterious and delightful glazed porcelain rays.  Yes, these were purchases and not donations.  (Acquisitions and collections would make a good topic for another blog!)

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