Wendy Nichol is the Caetani Cultural Centres newest CeramAIR, or ceramics artist in residence. (Rachel von Hahn photo)

Caetani Centre, VCAC welcomes ceramics artist

Wendy Nichol is the Caetani Cultural Centre's newest ceramics artist in residence

The Caetani Cultural Centre and Vernon Community Arts Centre announce their new visiting ceramics artist, Wendy Lisa Nichol.

Hailing from Toronto, Nichol is the Caetani Centre’s newest CeramAIR, or ceramics artist in residence. While she has been staying at the Caetani Cultural Centre, she has been working out of the Vernon Community Arts Centre since the beginning of January, continuing her explorations into clay and process. Her work will culminate with a solo exhibition in March.

“Nichol has created a ceramic exhibition that reflects the capacity to contain a memory of the hand,” said Carmen Thompson, AIR and program coordinator. “The Clay Body Responds to Touch sculpture series reflects on the imprint of that interaction. A composed clay surface marked with pathways, consider the hints of gesture as each form contains the willingness to receive.”

In her current practice, she lets the surface of the clay reveal its process of construction. She burnishes the surface of each vessel to polish the layers of coils, softening the hardness of the form. Remnants of coiled layers of clay that build up the walls of each vessel are present and reveal a shadowed imprint. Depending on the vessel, she approaches the surface treatment with a variety of techniques: carved freeform patterns, painting coloured slip or underglaze then carved texture, or gestural painting with slip or underglaze.

“Patiently waiting, for shapes to form and clay to dry,” Nichol said of her process. “Patterns appear from within the clay, while molding coils into vessels. Cavities of space that contain a reflection of my hand. Capturing movement in a still, solid form. Undulating textures embedded on the surface forever. Each application of pressure and release has been thought through. A negative and positive mark transferred through my body acting as an instrument. With care and composure, forms take on life, a connection to my body.”

An open studio public drop in is slated for Feb. 21, at the VCAC, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The exhibition opening reception is March 24, 6-9 p.m. at the Caetani Centre Studio Gallery. The exhibition runs MArch 24-28 at the Caetani Cultural Centre and March 23 to April 3 at the VCAC. All events are open to the public and free of charge.

CeramAIR is a ceramics-based residency and partnership between the Caetani Cultural Centre and the Vernon Community Arts Centre/Arts Council of the North Okanagan. The program provides regional, national, international ceramic artists the ability to work in a supportive community environment of like-minded individuals from our own arts community, to share their expertise and vision, to inspire excellence and create work at the highest level in a nurturing and creative environment.

The artist is provided with accommodations at the Caetani Centre, and is also provided with use of a shared studio workspace and equipment at the VCAC operated by the Arts Council of the North Okanagan. The residency is a multi-faceted experience that includes opportunities for teaching, community outreach, interaction with other artists, and studio care and culminates in an exhibition of new work.

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