OPENING RECEPTION Thursday, June 18. 7pm
Exhibition June 18 – August 8
@Medalta’s Yuill Family Gallery

Susan McKinnon is from Pictou, Nova Scotia. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2014. Shortly after graduating she moved to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia to work as a Studio Assistant for her former professor Joan Bruneau. During her stay in Lunenburg, she lived in a Victorian style Bed and Breakfast filled with antique furniture and ghost stories.

Susan is currently a full year resident at Medalta. The facilities at Medalta have been a source of new surface developments. During her residency, Susan has been experimenting with soda firing. This is a type of firing where soda ash is introduced into the kiln at a very high temperature to form a sodium vapor inside the kiln, which glazes the work. This allows for bright colours and interesting surface textures to form.

She begins each piece on the potter’s wheel. After the form is made she decides how its surface can be divided up and how its geometry could change. Sometimes she stretches out certain areas to give a greater sense of volume in particular areas. Then she removes sections of clay and reattaches the seams in similar ways to how shirts are fitted to our bodies. Her decorative surfaces draw inspiration from antique linens, lace, and historical fashions.

For example, the panelled structures of 18th Century corseted dresses, ruffled collars on suits, and the edge of a lace trimmed tablecloth, are all sources of inspiration for her. Her forms often feature voluptuous curves, much like the exaggerated silhouettes formed by bustled dresses and corsets. She says “I enjoy the contrasts between silly and sophisticated, gaudy and beautiful, which are intrinsic to many trends in fashion history.” She seeks to bring some of these contrasts into her work as well.

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