Clay has been used by some of the most distinguished artists since the Renaissance. Yet traditionally, artists such as Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the seventeenth century and Auguste Rodin in the nineteenth century embraced terracotta as a tool for their three-dimensional sketches and models. They manipulated the tactile qualities and its supplemental status, which allowed as certain artistic freedom. Kathy Venter, however, chooses terracotta as a primary medium to explore the history of representation of the female figure. She builds her sculptures from the ground up without moulds but rather, masterfully utilizing the ancient craft of hand-coiling and pinching.
Originated by the Gardiner Museum, Kathy Venter — Life presents thirty- six terracotta women of everyday life. This dramatic installation stimulates discussion about sculptural praxis in contemporary art, particularly as it relates to history and femininity. Kathy Venter — Life marks the Gardiner Museum’s commitment to the study of contemporary ceramic art, and this exhibition is part of a series presented under the auspices of the Raphael Yu Centre of Canadian Ceramics, which was established by Raphael Yu’s promised gift of funds and art in 2010.