Up and Coming, Kathleen McGiveron

Big Charmers, Kathleen McGiveron, Ceramic Sculpture, approx 12 inches high

At the Fort Gallery in Fort Langley, B.C., we have several new young artists who have joined our collective. In the current exhibition running to November 13th,  Kathleen McGiveron is showing a  witty collection of  ceramic figurines.  Each one is a poke at pop culture – pop singers, pop food, mass culture and the mainstream figurine. The detail above is from the sculpture named Big Charmers and is patterned with a Nestle’s symbol.

In her artist statement, she refers to Red Rose Tea “Wade” figurines as an idea source. I’m not familiar with  those, but I am with the Lladro and Nao figurines which also display a similar shiny glaze over muted colours and a simplified form. Kathleen’s figures are small animals – a squirrel, a rat, a bird. So far, all of the figures are hand made, one-off sculptures, except the bird series which is reproduced by a casting method with a hand-built and unique base. All of them are much larger than the tea-box “prizes” that inspire them.  Each sculpture is painted differently and each includes some iconic logo as part of the imagery.  She contrasts traditional  – what you see from a distance – with pop culture decals such as- Macdonald’s Golden Arches symbol repeated as an understated decoration; or the Mac Apple.

Shutter Shades, Kathleen McGiveron, Ceramic sculpture, approx 12 inches high

She has these decals prepared especially for her and then applies them one by one – the surfaces are curved, three-dimensional,  so it’s impossible simply to lay them down on the clay’s first layer of glazing.

She says, “It is essential that humour and irony exists within my work and that the piece is whimsical. I am interested in exploring a dialogue between the mass produced, mainstream figurine and the mass, mainstream icon. I am fascinated with the human obsession with celebrities and mass media and how certain moments and images can define a person or company. My intent is to explore this absurd obsession and lifestyle, and to bring light to current mainstream figures through my sculptures

Take a look at her web site at      http://www.kmcgiveron-art.com

Golden Arches, Kathleen McGiveron, Ceramic Sculpture, approx 12 inch high

On this chipmunkl sculpture, the animal holds a nut in its paws, and the nut is covered with Macdonalds Golden Arches logos.

Jaegerbombs Kathleen McGiveron, Ceramic Sculpture, Approx 12 inches high.

There is a bit of a problem with the exhibition as a whole. There is a group show of paintings going on at the same time and the painting component is quite distracting from Kathleen’s calm and unified work.

The group show of paintings is a memorial to Stu Richardson, a former  college instructor and mentor to a group of artists who gathered at Bernie’s Barn to paint together.  When Richardson passed away, his wife puzzled over what to do with his unfinished paintings. In collaboration with the artists in the Bernie’s Barn group, she gave the unfinished works to “finish” , each according to their creative inspiration. Each artist took a few of the paintings. Using Stu Richardson’s resource materials (photos and travel sketches) they then applied their own technique to complete the work.

There is a range of styles in the resulting work and the unity in this work only comes from the fact that the compositions were all started by Richardon. All are representational, many of boats, several are landscapes and a few are genre paintings of people in situ.

Four of Richardson’s finished works are on display, showing his mastery of the medium both technically and compositionally . “Frost Trees“, below is my favorite from the show because it glows with light.

Frost Trees, Stu Richardson, approx 24 x 30 inches, acrylic on canvas

and I quite enjoyed this one also for it’s detail, the thoughtful content and the beautiful handling of foreground and distance in complete harmony:

Stu Richardson, acrylic on canvas, approx 24 x 30 inches, acrylic on canvas

The Fort Gallery is at 9048 Glover Road, Fort Langley, B.C. open Wednesday to Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

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One Response to “Up and Coming, Kathleen McGiveron”

  1. Forest Rat Says:

    Cool stuff! I like the rat with the shades or is that an o’possum?


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