Erin Ross and Sarah Pike

June 4- August 1, 2015

Opening reception and art walk, Thursday June 4, 2015. 6-9 pm

Throughout time man has left a mark on the world. The Albertan landscape is peppered with relics that infer the recent human history of the prairies. Barns, grain silos, abandoned farmhouses and cultivated landscapes evoke memories and visions of past times when life was seemingly less complicated.

Ceramicist Sarah Pike and painter Erin Ross each approach the prairie aesthetic from their experiences living in Alberta.

Pike creates engaging ceramic works with subtle imperfections that show the imprint of their creator, elevating handmade objects above mass-produced, industrial ware. Pike is focussed on creating objects that bring people back to the ‘intimacy of human nature’, pieces that reflect the reality of human beauty and imperfection. Her objects bear the marks of the building process, displaying slight distortions that reveal individual character. These ideas are further emphasised by Pike’s method of display that is reminiscent of walking through a barn or root cellar. Teapots hang from hooks and other pieces are displayed on crates. This presentation focuses less on presenting the pieces as art objects and more toward emphasising their inspiration to contextualise the works.

Ross takes a darker, philosophical approach to her interpretations of the prairie. Inspired by dystopian literature, her ‘Back to the Land’ series features timeworn prairie buildings ablaze, burning red with billowing smoke. These stunning and arresting works revel in the beauty of this violent force, conjuring unease and awe. The outwardly abandoned structures are romantic, nostalgic vestiges that suggest simpler times forgotten by progress, whilst alluding to human presence and providing a compelling narrative quality.



Watch Heidi Johanason’s Shaw TV culture story on Erin Ross: