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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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  • Willow Heart Weaving Workshop

    Location: Edmonton, AB

    Willow Heart Weaving Workshop In this workshop, participants will learn how to trim and..
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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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  • Radio Silence

    Location: Quebec city, QC

    Québec, August 19, 2019 – Folie/Culture invites all those who express themselves through..
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  • LOOK AGAIN!

    Location: Saskatoon, SK

    LOOK AGAIN! PAINTINGS BY KATHLEEN SLAVIN AND GAIL PRPICK AT UNIVERSITY..
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  • Watercolour Workshop with Frank Townsley

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    Sunday 22nd September 10.00 AM - 5.00 PM ..
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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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  • 32 Points- 32 Voices: A Compass of Peace

    Location: Toronto, ON

    32 Points - 32 Voices: A Compass of Peace International Exhibition September 6-27, 2019 Cedar Ridge..
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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