New exhibition opening at General Fine Craft — August 18

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LETA CORMIER and MARY PFAFF
at General Fine Craft, Almonte ON   August 16 – October 2

Opening/meet the artists: Thursday August 18, 6-8pm

This year’s Feature Exhibitions at General Fine Craft in Almonte have a common theme of pairings of artists whose works complement each other in some way. What may seem an easy premise can be much more challenging in reality. How do works of very different media play off each other and how do you create an overall effect that’s truly intriguing?

In most cases, the paired artists have neither met nor been shown together. This presents an exciting opportunity to bring new perspective to their work. An upcoming exhibition, featuring the work of Leta Cormier and Mary Pfaff, is a prime example of this.

LETA CORMIER has passionately worked through ideas of ceramic functionality and design over a career spanning nearly four decades. She has developed a signature flare for statement pieces: bold geometric forms with subtly built-up texture and glazes. Her work embodies the discipline and poeticism of pottery-making. It has a strength that comes from years of thoughtful studio work, an innate understanding of the medium of clay and from her own vibrant personality.

Cormier’s early influences included early 20th century studio potters like Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada. She has since travelled and studied pottery traditions of Japan, Korea and China. The ancient Cycladic culture, African textiles and masks are also rich sources of reference for her work.

She makes pots to be used in the rituals of daily life. This chosen focus on the vessel form provides endless opportunities to investigate concept and structure. She says, “within this context, the relationships of idea, form, texture, and surface intrigue and engage me in exploring variations on themes”.

The world around her plays its role too. Cormier says, “the natural environment – landscape – and its individual elements, remain strong references for my work.”  This can be seen and felt in her technically accomplished glaze surfaces: deep metallic blacks or warm greys that are smooth like river rock but have depth and beautifully subtle variations.

Leta explains, “It is my hope that the pieces convey a unity and vitality, an honouring and sensibility to the qualities of the material and process and that they open a space for communication with the user”.

MARY PFAFF’s paintings and drawings explore life’s experiences, the mysterious beauty of nature and free expression. They are quietly powerful things that can dazzle your senses and fill you with emotion. For this exhibition, Mary presents medium to large-scale canvases, framed drawings and a selection of prints.

Attracted at an early age by Abstract Expressionism and later by the calligraphic styles of artists like Cy Twombly and Joan Mitchell, she has developed a distinctive artistic language that is always evolving. Pfaff says, “to paint is my lifelong aspiration – and favourite verb!”

Pfaff approaches her work with determined energy, guided by instinct and intuition. The results are symphonic in their orchestration of light and dark, colour, texture, line and form. She uses layers of various media – acrylic paint and medium, graphite, charcoal, water-soluble pencils, wax and oil paints to create abstract compositions. She calls the process “a wordless conversation” and “a fully sensual experience”.

A photography term that Mary finds relevant to her work is Miksang, meaning that “the mind is relaxed and open, free of interpretation”; one can “see from the heart” and become more available to the things surrounding her/him. This is an important element of Mary’s work and perspective on life – reflected in her dynamic, fully realized emotive works of abstract art.

The exhibition continues August 16 – October 2, 2016.

General Fine Craft  – 63 Mill Street, Almonte ON  K0A 1A0   tel: 613-461-3463

For more information, please contact: generalfinecraft@gmail.com