Love and Money Artist Profiles: Wendy Walgate and Lizz Aston

In 1994, Wendy Walgate completed a M.F.A. in Ceramics from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI and a M.A. in Art History at University of Toronto in 2003. Walgate also received a B.F.A. in Printmaking and Ceramics from University of Manitoba.

In 2005, Wendy was awarded membership in the Royal Canadian Society of Artists. Wendy works full-time at her studio in the historical Distillery District of Toronto and previously taught at the Ontario College of Art + Design and Sheridan College.
Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Prime Gallery in Toronto and Network Gallery in Detroit. Ferrin Gallery in Pittsfield, MA exhibited her work at SOFA Chicago, SOFA New York, Palm Beach 2 and Art Miami. Her work has recently been featured in British Vogue and the design book Fragiles which was sponsored by Die Gestalten in Berlin. Her work was in a group Gestalten exhibition at Design Miami, in Brussels and in the fall of 2008, Dubai. At the 2008 Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, she was awarded the Best Ceramics Award by donor Aaron Milrad.

From Wendy's Artist Statement:

"My current work examines and comments upon our culture of acquisition, accumulation and display. The consequences of this strong compulsion to acquire, accumulate and hoard are now all too evident in the world we see around us. The history of production ceramics is crowded with romanticized or idealized human figurines and anthropomorphized animals made specifically for the everyday collector as well as the connoisseur. Ceramic mementoes and tableaux adorn countless fireplace mantles, china cabinets, display shelves and store windows. Often these objects carry surprisingly strong emotive meanings and associations. There seems to be a human need to harden and parcel out this emotional value, usually referencing some type of lost innocence, and to accumulate and stockpile it as a hedge against the oppressive reality of change, experience and ultimately loss.

"We have all accumulated “things”. We amass clothing, music, books, jewelry and decorative objects. What we often fail to notice, however, is the power that these accumulations of otherwise insignificant objects gain by being displayed together, in one place and at one time. We may be unaware that as a society we amass other sentient, feeling creatures in similar collections, but with more macabre results. What we fail to notice about our collections of domestic and exotic animals for consumption or exhibition becomes much clearer when they can be witnessed as they are, collected together and helpless. My work is not about judgment; it is simply about the recognition of a truth that would otherwise pass unrecognized."

crocheted paper - doiley

Lizz Aston is a recent graduate of the Textiles program at the School of Crafts and Design, Sheridan College and is currently in her second year as an artist-in-residence in the Craft Department at Harbourfront Centre.

Through her work, she focuses on making concept-based fibre art and sculpture that has been developed with regards to both traditional and contemporary textile processes. Her current body of work is inspired by the exploration and manipulation of paper surfaces, as she works to create a series of small scale sculptural forms.

An excellent recent interview with Lizz can be found here on the craft blog Blethering Crafts. In it, Lizz talks about her studio practice, materials and processes, her background, and...rock'n'roll!

Love and Money opens at the Ontario Crafts Council this Thursday night from 6-9 pm, and runs from December 16-31, 2010.

Images, from top: Wendy Walgate, An Unlessoned Girl, Lizz Aston, Crocheted Paper Doiley

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