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  • INK by Shawn Zheng

    Location: Saskatoon, SK

    Shu Cheng (Shawn) Zheng features his distinctive style of making marks in Chinese..
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  • North Shore Art Crawl

    Location: North Shore, BC

    The North Shore Art Crawl is a free community arts event March 7+8,..
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  • Art exhibit at local funeral home is proof art isn’t dead!

    Location: Alexandria, ON

    • Friday, 21 Feb 6--9: Wine & cheese, entertainment by recording artist Katie..
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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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  • TRAVEL EXHIBITION

    Location: Toronto, ON

    John Mantha will be participating in a group show at Twist Gallery in..
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  • David Tycho: Urbania

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    Guest artist David Tycho will exhibit 10 paintings from his latest series. This series..
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  • ACAF (Accessible Art Fair) 2020

    Location: Brussels,

    ACAF (Accessible Art Fair) is back on October 15-18, 2020 for its 14th..
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  • Clarkson Society of Artists 2020 Show & Sale

    Location: Mississauga, ON

    The Clarkson Society of Artists invites you to attend their annual show &..
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  • Call for Artists: Urban Matrix

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    North Van Arts is inviting artists to take part in an upcoming group..
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  • 9th Artist Spotlight Solo Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art is now accepting entries for the 9th Artist Spotlight Solo Art..
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  • Call for Art - 11th Annual

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • Call For Artists: The Other Art Fair Toronto

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Other Art Fair are thrilled to present the newest edition of The..
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  • Call for Art - 4th Annual Colors Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 4th Annual Colors online art competition. For this..
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  • Marlene Kawalez and Corynn Kokolakis

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Presented by: Cedar Ridge Gallery. Part of the Cedar Ridge Gallery Contemporary Exhibition series. March..
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  • Jane Selbie and Joseph Farrugia

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Presented by: Cedar Ridge Gallery. Part of the Cedar Ridge Gallery Contemporary Exhibition series. February..
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  • Dianne Davis and the WAP Collective

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Presented by: Cedar Ridge Gallery. Part of the Cedar Ridge Gallery Contemporary Exhibition series. February..
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  • “Grey” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline February 28, 2020

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: Grey surrounds us, sometimes in surprising ways. In beach pebbles, a..
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  • on thin ice Polar Bear Art Exhibit

    Location: Toronto, ON

    On thin ice is a solo exhibit of polar bear portrait paintings by..
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  • Support the Worldwide Art Community | Participate in 6x6x2020

    Location: Rochester, ON

    Hello Artists in Canada, We want YOU to participate in 6x6x2020! Let your creative..
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  • Olivier Du Tre: New Works

    Location: CALGARY, AB

    January 7 to February 29, 2020 At HUB@302 302-1235 26 Ave SE, Calgary, AB..
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  • WAAH 124th Juried Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Hamilton

    Location: Hamilton, ON

    Who:  The Women’s Art Association of Hamilton (WAAH) at the Art Gallery of..
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  • The Indian Contemporary Art Competition

    Location: New York, NY, ON

    The Indian Contemporary Art Competition (ICAC) aims to discover and promote talented artists..
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  • The Loft On King Street

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Loft On King Street is one of the most unique private event..
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  • Overzealous Fine Art Exhibition 2020 Call for Entry

    Location: Toronto (GTA), ON

    Submission Deadline: Sunday, March 1st, 2020 -- Exhibition Dates: March 30 – April 18,..
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  • VOYZX Exhibition of Contemporary Surrealism

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    VOYZX Exhibition of Contemporary Surrealism 2020 is an annual international art exhibition, dedicated..
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Wayne Ngan

By Robert Amos July 2, 2004

} Wayne Ngan By Robert Amos Wayne Ngan at Winchester Galleries, 2260 Oak Bay Avenue, 595-2777, until July 3 www.winchestergalleriesltd.com The Winchester Gallery has put ceramics on a whole new footing in Victoria. An exhibition of about 120 pieces by Wayne Ngan, of Hornby Island, is presented at the gallery in shiny new plexi cases under fine halogen lights. The ceramics are breathtaking, and so are the prices. We have never before been offered a pot by a contemporary local artist for $3,500. Really, it should come as no surprise. Ngan’s skill in creating forms from clay is unsurpassed. He glazes them with a complex of geology, chemistry and thermodynamics, and then causes this intricate dance of fire and earth to rise up into the air and sing. Why shouldn’t this be worth half as much as a piece of paper over which Toni Onley briefly passed his brush? In fact, Onley paintings make an interesting backdrop to Ngan’s pots. Onley developed his watercolours with a spirit of Orientalism - the Japanese brush, the empty spaces, the calligraphy. Ngan, who was born in China but grew up in Vancouver, has imbued his decidedly eastern pottery with a modernist ethic drawn from Kandinsky and Picasso via Gordon Smith and Jack Shadbolt. In my opinion, virtually all the best potters in this country live on this far west coast. Here we have been educated by the excellent work of Gordon Hutchens, Walter Dexter, Robin Hopper, Judi Dyelle, Jan and Helga Grove, just to name the first few that come to mind. But Ngan has always been at the top of my list. One of his vases sits by itself in a display case. Globular and generous in proportion, it glistens with a transparent black glaze containing within it a pattern of infinite granulation. It presents at once a rude peasant strength - you could hold a lot of rice wine in this! - and a sublime sophistication worthy of Brancusi. It’s easy to see why a selection of Ngan’s work is on permanent display at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa. There is a compact sense of order in this man’s pottery, and when I try to describe it, words fail. What is this object? It stands on a round foot, but as soon as the body arises it is surmounted by a barrel shape set on a transverse axis. The neck of the vase grows out of the barrel, a square growing out of the side of a cylinder. Ngan is squaring the circle! The shapely rectangular rim softens at the corners. The glaze there stretches and thins and disperses, revealing every colourful component of its inky depths. All those words... and they don’t begin to do justice to what this man hath wrought. For millennia, people have been coiling and slab-building and turning objects made of clay. Yet Ngan has invented dozens of shapes which I have never seen before. Sure, he makes bowls and vases and even plates, like any potter. But what of the little lidded boxes which swell up from the base and finish in a gentle dome? A number of odd objects convey a power reminiscent of ancient Chinese bronzes - tripod feet, a cylindrical waist and three leaves spreading out from a central well. On the outside these look like pitted metal, while inside there glows a smouldering ultramarine blue glaze. This is more than pottery. Few of the objects have any functional purpose. Could they be sculpture, perhaps an abstraction of the human form with hip and shoulder and torso? Ngan holds no brief for minimalism, and is happy to decorate his surfaces with more verve than most painters you could mention. The sides of vases paddled flat make a perfect ground for calligraphic flourish. Flat dishes may be dipped in slip, then scratched through. This sgraffito results in a thrilling design held in place by the special tension which comes with a wheel-turned form. In this exhibition are a number of flat slabs which are a perfect ground for his painterly expression. The palette of minerals and fire are more elemental than any mere painter can deploy. I visited Ngan’s Hornby Island home a number of times where he held court throughout the summer. Sitting beneath the wisteria near his pond, he played the philosopher while tourists milled about. On every visit I have made a purchase or two from the shelves near his giant, slumbering wood-fired kiln. It was only on the most recent visit, when he invited me into his home, that I realized that what we tourists were offered were “seconds”. In his house were stacked pieces he esteemed too highly to offer for sale at studio prices. Clearly, Gunter Heinrich made the selection for this show from Ngan’s very best. Heinrich told me that not only did he pick the pieces from Ngan’s household cupboards, but from the top of those cupboards, and even at the very back. Ngan is not a young man any more, and he has at last met a dealer unafraid to display his best work with an appropriate dignity, and to price the wares accordingly. Though you may be surprised to find that these ceramics cost more than the mugs and bowls at your local craft fair, be aware that connoiseurs of pottery in Japan and China regularly pay far, far more than this for works by the masters ___________________________________________ Copyright © 2004Robert Amos Robert Amos is an artist and art writer who lives in Victoria, B.C.. He can be contacted by e-mail and you can view his paintings at www.robertamos.com