The Dunlop Art Gallery presents:
Susan Shantz : creatures in translation
April 27 to June 14, 2012
Opening Reception: Friday, April 27 at 7:00 pm
Artist's Talk and Japanese Tea Ceremony: Saturday, April 28 at 1:00 pm
creatures in translation is a solo exhibition of new sculptures and prints by Saskatoon-based artist Susan Shantz. Initially pondering the loss of cultural information that occurs as a result of digital reproduction of art and artifacts, Shantz's project delves into a richly entangled web of related queries and concerns.
Accessing images from the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria's online archives as source material, Shantz used three-dimensional modeling software and a haptic tool to simulate the process of sculpting clay, recreating artifacts as they appear online. These digitally sculpted forms are then rendered two- and three-dimensionally into forms of varying sizes and states of completion. The objects Shantz chooses to work with are four early 20th century Japanese Banko ware teapots, shaped like a badger, sparrow, frog, and sea creature, choices that reflect a longstanding interest in the artist's "ubiquitous manufactured versions of nature in culture." The history of Banko ware is also significant to this body of work: while first and second stage Banko ceramics were made by named and well-recognized ceramic artists, Shantz draws her inspiration from works of third stage Banko Ware, which have a more ambiguous provenance. These factory-made ceramics were produced by copyists who replicated the works and appropriated the styles of the original Banko masters. Known for their whimsical and amusingly anthropomorphic forms, these functional and decorative ceramics became extremely popular, both in Japan and in Europe.
Numerous translative acts are involved in the production and subsequent interpretation of these pots, from their representation of natural forms, to their reproduction as commercial goods, to their reification as art objects within the museum and their circulation as images within the museum's online database. With each translative turn, some signifiers are lost while others are gained. In rendering and re-presenting these artifacts using contemporary technologies, Shantz comments on these processes of translation and influence. Her unfaithful copies reveal the ahistorical and cross-cultural qualities of these historical and cultural artifacts, emphasizing the formal similarities of early 20th century Japanese ceramics and contemporary anime, Victorian paper collage, and Claymation. Three-dimensional modeling also carries with it a specific set of aesthetic referents, ranging from video gaming to virtual reality to contemporary film animation, and Shantz allows the objects she renders to be subject to these multiple and mutable signifying fields. By making visible the multiple processes of translation that affect art production, art objects, and collections, Shantz creates an archive of process, a collection that speaks to the challenges of collecting.
About the Artist:
Susan Shantz graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from York University in 1989 and currently teaches sculpture and mixed media in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Saskatchewan. Her work has been featured in public and artist-run galleries across Canada, including exhibitions at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Definitely Superior in Thunder Bay, and Galerie Articule in Montreal. Her work is in numerous public holdings including the Saskatchewan Arts Board, the Canada Council Art Bank, the MacKenzie Art Gallery, and the Burlington Cultural Centre.
Dunlop Art Gallery
Regina Public Library Central, 2231-12th Avenue, Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 3Z5
Monday through Thursday 9:30 am to 9:00 pm
Friday 9:30 am to 6:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sunday 1:30 to 5:00 pm
Closed statutory holidays
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Curtis Collins, Director
The Dunlop Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, SaskCulture, and Saskatchewan Lotteries.