December 2, 2010—January 15, 2011 | Reception, Thursday December 7th, 6-8PM
James Harris Gallery is pleased to present our first solo exhibition by Canadian artist Alwyn O’Brien. A recent graduate from the University of Washington MFA program, O’Brien creates both slip cast and hand built vessel shaped forms out of porcelain. The objects in this exhibition were inspired by manmade berms and piles found at waste sites or at location of development on Salt Springs Island. For O’Brien, the piles are the residue of human activity; a collection of natural materials from the clearings of waste, incorporating aspects of decay and birth. Thus piles in the artist’s mind “with its etymology of pyre/vessel becomes a repository of waste and memory…landscape memory, one where cultural activity is as implicated as natural so to speak.”
With an extensive knowledge of the history of decorative artists and a passion for the baroque, O’Brien’s objects dissect the definition of the vessel through her use of lacey hand rolled coils used in a deliberate yet chaotic way to construct volume and shape. Pinching, rolling and fingerprints show signs of the hand and connect the material to body.
Alwyn O’Brien’s ceramic practice has taken her across Canada, studying at Capilano College, in Vancouver, Sheridan College of Ontario, the Nova Scotia School of Art and Design, and Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. She received her MFA in 2010 from the University of Washington in Seattle and her BFA from Emily Carr Institute. Her work is featured in the collections of the Seattle Art Museum, Boise Art Museum, the Surrey Art Gallery, and the Mackenzie Art Gallery.