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  • Drawing Fundamentals & Community with North Van Arts

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    Register for North Van Arts' six-week Drawing Fundamentals and Community course with Artist/Instructor..
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  • Intermediate Acrylic Painting with North Van Arts

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    Register for North Van Arts' four-week Intermediate Acrylic Painting course with Artist/Instructor Jeff..
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  • Art Rental Show at North Van Arts

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    Come and visit CityScape Community Art Space to view the second installment of..
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  • All is True - #NorthVanArts Film Screening

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    The North Van Arts International Film Series is presented by North Van Arts..
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  • Didukh Building Workshop

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Learn how to make a didukh, a sheaf of grain traditionally prepared by..
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  • Vertep Building Workshop

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    In this workshop, you will create a Vertep (Christmas Manger) as your newest decor..
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  • Intermediate Oil Painting

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Paint a rainy urban scene in oils while you stay comfortably indoors! Learn..
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  • From Around Ukraine in Stitches

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    This new series, a Technique Taster of Stitches, will introduce participants to embroidery..
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  • WANTED: WEBSITE DEVELOPER

    Location: Saskatoon, SK

    Wanted: Website Developer Artists in Canada is looking for a website / UI developer..
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  • IT'S NOT ME, IT'S YOU

    Location: Toronto, ON

    AWOL COLLECTIVE 20TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW, September 14-September 29, 2019, Saturday and Sunday 1-5 pm...
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  • Call for Art - 9th Annual

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • 5th Annual Leaves & Petals Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 5th Annual Leaves & Petals online art..
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  • Exaltation : Intangible Journeys of the Human Spirit: Nikola Wojewoda

    Location: Niagara on the lake, ON

    The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre presents Exaltation : Intangible Journeys of the Human..
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  • HUB @ 302

    Location: CALGARY, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists invites all juried members, associate and non-members to..
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  • Open Call for 2020 exhibitions

    Location: Vernon, BC

    We are an artist run gallery seeking submissions from emerging artists for our..
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  • Beacon Original Art Fall Show & Sale

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Saturday October 19, 2019 from 10am - 4pm. Featuring more than 30 artists..
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  • Open Call:

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    The Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA) is having an open exhibition for members..
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  • Open Call: All 10

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    Calling all Canadian Artists! This is an open submission call for a lightly..
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  • Earth

    Location: CALGARY, AB

    The Alberta Society of Artists invites all Juried, Life, Student, Associate Members and..
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  • Reza Rezaï / Mehmoon

    Location: Calgary, AB

    TRUCK Contemporary Art is pleased to present Mehmoon by Reza Rezaï. Through the..
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  • Outside, In

    Location: Lethbridge, AB

    Opening reception September 28th 7-9pm for the Allied Art Council's Gallery Stroll! OUTSIDE,..
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  • National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society 2019 Fall Online International Exhibition

    Location: Windsor, ON

    The National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS) invites oil and acrylic painters..
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  • “Motion” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline October 31, 2019

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: Moving or being moved. Shifting, stirring, changing places. The rise and..
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  • Beaver Sheppard: Solo Exhibition

    Location: Montreal, QC

    Archive Contemporary presents a comprehensive solo exhibition of Beaver Sheppard’s artistic canon, for..
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  • ANCESTRAL MINDSCAPES

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Ancestral Mindscapes is an autobiographical collaboration using video, sound and photography to explore..
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  • Clay Tile Workshop

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Participants will be working with clay to hand-build tiles using a variety of..
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  • Edible and Medicinal Gardening Lecture

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Ukrainian settlers brought with them a wide range of traditional knowledge and practices,..
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  • Acrylic Painting for Beginners

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Do you want to create a bright & beautiful acrylic landscape in one..
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  • New Craft Coalition: Call to Artists

    Location: Calgary, AB

    New Craft Coalition, invites applications from all mid-career and professional artists to be..
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  • Invisible by PAINTER8

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Please join us at PAINTER8, and other Edmonton art lovers alike, for the..
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  • 19th Annual Stouffville Studio Tour

    Location: Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON

    The 19th Annual Stouffville Studio Tour is an event you don’t want to..
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  • Wheat Centrepiece Workshop

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Join this class to learn how to make a didukh-style centrepiece that can..
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  • LOOK AGAIN!

    Location: Saskatoon, SK

    LOOK AGAIN! PAINTINGS BY KATHLEEN SLAVIN AND GAIL PRPICK AT UNIVERSITY..
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  • Figureworks 2019

    Location: Ottawa, ON

    Figureworks 2019 Call for Artists The call for submissions to the 10th annual juried..
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  • Quasi-Nature

    Location: Montreal, QC

    Archive Contemporary Art Gallery is pleased to present Quasi-Nature, a group exhibition curated..
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  • National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society 2019 Fall Online International Exhibition

    Location: Windsor, ON

    The National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS) invites oil and acrylic painters..
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  • Unsettling Nature

    Location: Toronto, ON

    An Exhibition at: The Garage Gallery Benmiller with Artists Jill Price, Leslie Putnam, Morag Webster..
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  • Through the Eyes of a Child

    Location: CALGARY, AB

    Artists Statement: Ed Flanagan My wife had a career as an elementary school..
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  • Exposition solo Lac-Mégantic

    Location: Lac-Mégantic, QC

    L'eau, une mine d'Art du 8 juillet au 8 septembre 2019..
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  • Sustainable Fashion Designer Looking for Studio Space in Mississauga

    Location: Mississauga, ON

    Hi, I'm Amanda, I am an emerging fashion designer starting my business designing..
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Keith Campbell: Figure Emerging (New Work in Clay)

By Gil McElroy May 10, 2004

} Keith Campbell: The Figure Emerging (New Work in Clay) By Gil McElroy Ontario-based ceramist Keith Campbell has staked his career on a thorough exploration of the possibilities of porcelain. In the 1980s and early 1990s, his work came under the stylistic influence of rococo and the baroque; sequences of plates, bowls and vessels of curvaceous, sinuous form were the hallmark of the period, works with tremendous visual fluidity and motion that seemed to grasp for the unattainable goal of unarrested movement. Ghost In the body of recent work that comprised this exhibition at the White Water Gallery in his hometown of North Bay, Ontario, Campbell opted for the visual expression of motion of another kind, one integral to the very essence of the thrown clay vessel form. Campbell has given porcelain a twist. Literally. These 23 pieces, while ostensibly investigating the sculptural (i.e. figurative) possibilities of clay, also experimented with the visual expression of torque. In a nutshell, while the human body was central to much of Keith Campbell's newest work, a significant portion of it had everything to do with the screw. Now, the screw is a form indeed central to ceramics, or, more accurately, to wheel-thrown or coil-form clay. On the wheel, the screw is the only path that can be taken by clay as it rises in the hands of the ceramist, as a clay mass becomes a vessel. The screw is the initial, underlying condition of the ceramic object, however much we might prefer to ignore it. Movement in Yellow But, like it or not, it is there, narratively tracing out the creation of a meaningful form from a meaningless clay mass. It just happens that, in some of Keith Campbell's newest work, the proverbial background noise that is the state of the screw in contemporary ceramics has been promoted to the foreground figure of an actual signal. Campbell, in short, wants us to see it. Case in point: the porcelain vessel Ghost. Higher than it is wide, Ghost reaches a point where the lip of the vessel has collapsed in upon itself. The form exhibits a structural instability that precludes any possibility of functionality. As a vessel, it teeters at the very brink of utter failure. As a screw, however, it makes overt the condition of its very making, spiraling upward and leaving flabby clay love handles sagging in its wake as evidence of its passage. Classic Vase Movement in Yellow exhibits many of the same features: initially a thrown porcelain vessel, its form has been warped and deformed by hand, pinched and poked, and in the end girdled with a single love handle rising, screw-like, along the lower half of the piece. Both Ghost and Movement in Yellow occupied one end of Campbell’s recent clay spectrum. The end opposite it was comprised of work of a purely figurative bent, like Classic Vase, in which the thrown vessel form was then configured by hand to form a woman’s torso, its softly curving belly, dimpled navel, and cleft buttocks matched to a pair of disproportionately stubby legs. Figure Emerging Most works, though, occupied center ground, where thrown clay screw and figurative impetus collided headlong. Figure Emerging twists up from its base to become handmade deformations of the thrown vessel form that resemble just what its title states: figurative elements - arms and legs - only just asserting themselves within the clay surface. With Stepping Out, Campbell pushes the mix to the absurd extreme, the screw of thrown clay evolving into a pair of legs, one extending well out beyond the underlying vessel form and kicking upwards so high as to give the work a passing resemblance to a long-necked goose. With his newest work, Keith Campbell has dispensed with the need to borrow from a antique decorative style. Instead, he has opted for a sculptural direction that acknowledges and even embraces its source in the wheel-thrown vessel, while simultaneously pushing beyond it. It’s a difficult balancing act, though the rewards of mastering it can be enormous. Here’s hoping he succeeds. ___________________________________________ Copyright © 2002 Gil McElroy Gil McElroy is a critic, independent curator, artist, and poet currently living in Colborne, Ontario. His latest books are Gravity & Grace: Selected Writing on Contemporary Canadian Art (Gaspereau Press), and a book of poetry, Dream Pool Essays (Talonbooks). View Gil's curriculum vitae.