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Roaming Tales: Linda Sormin

This ceramic installation combines the world's oldest technology with the world's newest technology.

This exhibition is part of the national travelling exhibition Mobile Structures that explores the connection between ceramics and architecture in Canadian art.

Consider the distinctive blue and white pattern of Blue Willow pottery. For over two hundred years, this familiar ware has encouraged dawdling children to forget their porridge and enter an imaginative landscape marked by a stubby bridge, pipe-cleaner trees, and a pagoda-like tea house. Architectural scenes, whether buildings or gardens, were common subjects for ceramics and spoke of the close connection between pottery, hearth and home. Think also of the place of ceramic ornamentation on buildings. In Canada we have a wealth of examples including the sea-faring embellishments that grace the Marine Building, Vancouver’s art deco treasure. The exhibition Mobile Structures: Dialogues Between Ceramics and Architecture in Canadian Art presents recent ceramic artworks that seek to re-establish a dialogue with architecture in the creation of space, dwelling, identity, body and nature.

Linda Sormin's installation Roaming Tales was an improvised structure made up of hand-built clay coils, slip-cast objects, pre-fired shards, ceramic kitsch and objects with diverse histories, including items salvaged from thrift shops.

Sormin's process involves repeated cycles of "call and response." Each time the artist adds to her fictional architecture, volunteers are invited to respond by constructing their own additions; in turn, these additions suggest new directions for Sormin to take, and so on. While the resulting structures are architectural in intention, they defy architectural conventions in almost every way there is.

Read the exhibition brochure.

Image credit: Installation image of Roaming Tales by Linda Sormin at Surrey Art Gallery. Photo by Sharon Doucette.