Biographies for individuals featured in the exhibition
Christopher Reid Flock
Ceramicist Before his first introduction to clay at the Burlington Arts Centre, Reid majored in English literature and violin at the University of Western Ontario. After mentoring with the preeminent potter Kayo O’Young in 1998 and studying at Sheridan College School of Ceramic Design, Reid moved to Ibaraki, Japan where he lived and studied ceramics for nine years. He returned to Canada in 2009 and has established his studio practice in Hamilton, Ontario. Reid’s professional career as an experimental ceramic artist continues to grow since his first exhibition in 2007. In 2014, he was awarded the Winifred Shantz Award for Ceramics.
Ceramicist Rob Froese is a contemporary ceramic artist working in Canada and Japan, making objects of use and contemplation that range from small cups and plates to vase forms and wall works. His work in clay is informed by his travel and work experiences in Canada, Mexico, numerous European and Asian countries, and his studies at the University of Saskatchewan (BA), the University of Regina (BFA), and recently at the Alberta College of Art & Design where he is enrolled in the MFA in Craft Media program. Froese’s work involves frequent instructing and mentoring, attending residencies, and working in different studio locations, using a range of clay bodies, forming techniques, and firing methods.
Ceramicist Dianne Lee is a Toronto based ceramic artist and instructor. She was born into a military family in Lahr, West Germany in 1983 and was raised in towns and cities in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario. Dianne received a BDes from OCADU in 2006. After graduation she worked in England for three years, during which time she interned with British potter Deborah Baynes. Later, Dianne lived and worked in New Zealand for a year where she was a member of the Wellington Potter’s Association. Since returning to Toronto in 2012 Dianne has participated in local exhibitions and sales. In the Spring of 2015 Dianne completed at 10-month mentorship program lead by ceramic artist, Linda Sormin. Dianne is currently working on an interdisciplinary project with New Orleans based visual artist, Robyn LeRoy-Evans.
Koi Neng Liew
Ceramicist Koi Neng Liew was born and raised in Singapore, and began his artistic training studying oil painting at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. He continued his academic career at The New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, where he received a BFA in 2001. Following that, he was accepted into the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he received a MFA with a thesis in ceramic sculpture. His large-scale ceramic sculptures are in permanent and private collections across the US and has exhibited both nationally and internationally in Canada, USA, Singapore, and China since 1998.
In 2010, he moved to Medicine Hat, Alberta to continue his career as a full-time studio artist at the Medalta International Artists in Residence. Most recently, Liew was appointed a faculty position at Medicine Hat College, and teaches sculpture and drawing courses in the Visual Communications Department.
Ceramicist A ceramic artist for more than fifty years, Les’s very personal forms focus on the interpretation of two of the dominant landscapes in Alberta; the prairies and the Rockies. His wheel thrown and altered forms capture the abstract qualities of these sculptural environments and have been exhibited and collected in Asia, Europe, Egypt, USA, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. In addition to his long career as a maker, Les has had a profound impact within the field of ceramics as a mentor and administrator. As the former Director of Ceramics at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Les influenced a generation of artists who have gone on to advance the field through exhibition, education, and advocacy.
Les came to Medalta as a volunteer Artistic Director seventeen years ago and helped to grow the Medalta International Artist in Residence Program into a destination for artists from all over the world. In 2012, Les Manning received the Order of Canada for his impressive body of work in advancing the arts in Canada and the Diamond Jubilee medal that honours significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.
Ceramicist Noriko Masuda was born in Japan, but has lived most of her life in Canada. Her path to ceramics has had a few detours. She earned a BA in Classics (Latin and Ancient Greek) and had a career as a Registered Dental Technologist, until she chose to make a career change and moved to Stoke-on-Trent, UK. There she received an MA in Ceramic Design from Staffordshire University. She is currently the Residency Coordinator for the Medalta International Artists in Residence Program, where she is constantly inspired by the various ceramic artists who come to the residency from around the world. Noriko maintains an active studio practice creating aesthetically clean, almost invisible wares – items so unobtrusive that they blend perfectly into their function and can be used without thinking.
Ceramicist Jenna received a BFA in Ceramics at the Alberta College of Art & Design in Canada in 2003 and a MA in Ceramic Design from Staffordshire University in 2012. Alongside her ceramics Jenna has developed a career in craft, business, and Creative Placemaking through her work managing retail at Alberta Craft Council and living and working in Edmonton’s Arts Habitat.
After completing her Masters, Jenna returned to Canada as Curator of Exhibitions and Collections at Medalta and on the board as a director with the Alberta Craft Council. Jenna’s studio practice explores ceramics that combine traditional craft with industrial processes and new technologies. Her designs are often influenced by vintage housewares, patterns and colours. Jenna’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, most notably in FRESH, the 2011 British Ceramics Biennial’s flagship exhibition of top 40 emerging UK graduates, the London Design Festival, and with FLUX at Maison Object Paris.
Ceramicist Chase Travaille is a ceramic artist born and raised in the American South. Chase is a graduate from the Kansas City Art Institute in Kansas City, Missouri and has shown his work both nationally and internationally. Recently Chase was awarded the Regina Brown Undergraduate Fellowship to research the Commedia Dell’Arte figurines by Franz Anton Bustelli in Munich, Germany. He currently lives and works in Fayetteville, Arkansas developing a new body of work responding to his investigation.
Through his studio practice, Chase memorializes his life history within figurative work, referencing both past and present experiences using allegory and the fantastical to perform these stories.
Painter Linda Gordon is a self-taught artist, social worker, wife, mother, and grandmother. Since settling in Medicine Hat in 1973 she’s had an active studio practice working with clay, photography, papier-mâché, batik, silk painting, watercolour, oils and mosaic.
Having taught art for many years for community groups and schools, Linda now focuses on set design and painting for local theatre groups. Linda’s work is developed through retreats, notably, Emma lake, Cypress Park, Saskatchewan and Bigfork, Montana. Her most recent collections focus on oil paintings (the Montana fire trees) and mosaics (Eye of the Heart).
Painter Raised on a ranch in southern Alberta, Gena LaCoste is a self-taught artist with an active studio practice in watercolour and oil painting. Gena’s paintings depict the natural prairie landscapes and wild animals as well as ranching and rodeo culture.
Painting steadily from her home studio, her work continues to evolve, with the subject matter expanding. Gena’s works have been exhibited and sold extensively in Canada and the U.S. Along with her studio practice, Gena teaches watercolour painting. Over the last five years, Gena has produced one painting each day, which she records on a blog: genalacoste.blogspot.ca. www.genalacoste.com
Fencer At the age of 14 Cyle Dyck started fencing. After practicing the trade for 10 years he started a fencing business with his parents, Bernie and Tina Dyck, and brother, Cam Dyck, actively involved. Cyle builds chain link, vinyl, wood ornamental, and ranch fencing. Cyle enjoys the trade of fencing for its ability to improve upon what may or may not have existed. Cyle enjoys taking something run down and making it functional again. For the most part Cyle’s trade is solitary taking him outdoors, often in the middle of nowhere, something he finds suits his personality and interests.
Welder and Metal Fabricator Jason Lange, originally from Calgary, is the owner and operator of Epic Metal Services which incorporated in 2008. After spending some time working as a journeyman welder for various fabrication shops, he started his company in a rented single car garage. Epic Metal specialized in performance automotive fabrication and later expanded to service the oil and gas industry. Jason relocated Epic Metal to Redcliff in 2010 and has continued to diversify and expand the business.
He appreciates the craft and refined hand skill level involved in welding and fabricating. With a focus on both precision craftsmanship and new technologies, his business now includes many facets of fabricating; CNC machining, welding, multi-axis water jet cutting, precision sheet metal and much more.
Welder and Metal Fabricator Born and raised in Medicine Hat, Dan Benedict has been welding since 2006. Carrying on the family occupation, Dan’s father helped to set him up in the industry. Material is a large draw for Dan who enjoys melting metal and playing with fire. Since working with Epic Metal, Dan’s had the opportunity to work with a range of materials that keep him interested and constantly learning. These days his favourite process and material is welding stainless steel with tigg.
Dr. Ken Blair
Dr. Ken Blair graduated from the University of Calgary with a BSc (hons) followed by an MD in 1973. He subsequently completed specialty training in Radiology followed by post-graduate training in Nuclear Medicine at the University of Calgary, Foothills Hospital. He has held positions at several hospitals including the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Glenrose Children’s Hospital, Foothills Hospital, and Medicine Hat Hospital. He has also been a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Universities of Alberta and Calgary.
Dr. Blair was the medical director of Radiology at the Medicine Hat Hospital for over 20 years and a founding partner of Blair, Gripp, Stubbs and Associates Radiology (BGSA) Clinic in Medicine Hat. His current practice is in pain management where he performs spinal nerve blocks, epidurals and joint injections for patients with chronic pain.
Farrier and Blacksmith Colin Eddy began learning the trade of farrier in 1990 at 14 years of age. His family owned horses and had always trimmed and shod their own animals. Learning that his great grandfather was a blacksmith and a farrier, Colin sought out opportunities to learn from his uncles and cousins. In 2001 Colin enrolled in a farrier program in Bozeman, Montana where he apprenticed under Tom Wolfe. Learning to make a horseshoe from a flat bar to a finished product was the moment that Colin knew he was hooked.
For Colin, farrier and blacksmith work began with his family and continues to this day with his wife, Candace, and children all of whom are involved in the trade. Through farrier work Colin has learned the importance of respect and patience when working with animals as have his family. Colin openly hopes that Dakoda, Payton and Gracie will one day share the passion that he has for this trade.
Hairstylist Lacey Deveau has been in Medicine Hat for ten years. From an early age, Lacey knew she would become a hairstylist. In 2012 Lacey graduated from her trade with honours. With the support and encouragement of her partner, she incorporated her business, Hair Confessionz, in 2016. Through her business Lacey has the creative control to design the salon to her vision, which includes two “in house” senior adopted dogs that her clients love. With a focus on building relationships with her clientele, Lacey’s business continues to grow and thrive.
Cobbler Mario Rossetto was born and raised in Medicine Hat and is the owner of Aldo’s Shoe Repair. Before coming to Canada, Mario’s grandparents, Silvio and Fiorina, lived in a village of San Vito di Valdobbiadene, Italy, where they operated a business manufacturing and repairing shoes. In 1959 Mario’s parents, Aldo and Amalia, immigrated to Canada. Aldo opened his own business, Aldo’s Shoe Repair LTD, in 1961 on Third Street downtown Medicine Hat.
Mario received a post-secondary education in business and in 1985 joined his father in the family business as a third-generation cobbler. In 1987 he purchased the business from his father. Today, Aldo’s Shoe Repair is entering its fifty-seventh year in Medicine Hat and prides itself in service and quality in southern Alberta.