The words “art” and “craft” are being connected like never before due to a small group of Canadian artists.
The “C Word” is an exhibit that looks at Canadian artists and their crafts as a form of expression. It was unveiled at the Doris McCarthy Gallery, located at the University of Toronto Scarborough, in February. The exhibit examines “crafts” in relation to modern art.
When someone says ‘craft’ most people think of shoemakers and masons.
— Richard Mongiat
Contemporary artist Richard Mongiat’s views on commercialism and art, in a 2010 lecture at the university, were what led him to his role as curator of the exhibit.
“When someone says ‘craft’ most people think of shoemakers and masons. A large amount of craft goes into every facet of creation,” he said. “Just like masons, the artist’s craft is their creation and the work that goes into it.”
Works by 19 Canadian artists are currently on display in the gallery.
The art, including paintings and sculptures, are designed to visualize the area between start and finish. Some sculptures look as if they are missing large pieces of plaster or looked pieced together with different materials. Some paintings look as if they have yet to be finished, but are already framed.
The unfinished aspect of the exhibit made the artists’ craft the primary story being told.
“Craft is more of a means by which other things are achieved. The materials can hold a great many possibilities,” said Catherine Beaudette, one of the featured artists of the exhibit.
Between the two rooms the art is evenly spread out. There is a 3D paper art display of a bear lying on top of a human, a face that looks as if it is disintegrating, and a large black and white painting occupies an entire wall.
“We had to incorporate several large paintings and sculptures into a limited space, and I think the end result is great. It’s difficult knowing how a gallery will turn out, but all we have heard so far are compliments of who we wanted to feature,” a gallery employee said.
An online catalogue is available for those who cannot make it out to the gallery. The catalogue includes videos of the artists and descriptions of individual works.
The exhibit closes on April 4, but there are plans to have this as a yearly staple at the gallery. There have not been any announcements about what will take its place.