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Susan Low-Beer: Evidence of Breath

Susan Low-Beer: Evidence of Breath

October 11 – December 2, 2012
Opening Reception:
Thursday, Oct 11, 7:30pm

The ceramic sculptures of Susan Low-Beer focus attention on the physical and inner presence of our bodies. The weighty, earthy clay becomes, in her hands, an evocation of spirit. This exhibition, bringing together three series of her work, is drawn from 9 years of discovery. Compelling physical forms like childlike faces, heads, and airborne bodies evoke the invisible energy of the interior life.

About Face is a row of sensitive, childlike heads. While the heads display a uniformity of shape and features, each head has been built with strikingly different textures and treatments. These are not mere surface textures, but patterns of substance and void unique to each individual visage. Considering the way each resolves into the delicate features of a child’s face, the visceral freedom of the clay is surprising and powerful. Taken together, the work is a lyrical meditation on individual uniqueness and shared humanity.

The process behind these works involves an innovative fusion of molds and hand-built methods. Low-Beer’s innovative use of the mold is critical to the blend of spontaneous clay-work and delicately resolved form. Exquisite works on paper, entitled Ra (after the Egyptian sun god) include disconcerting images of this mold, where void and solid complicate each other to uncanny effect. A mold defines a void, the sculptures are riddled with remnants of that void, and our own bodies rely on spaces within: these spaces allow for breath.

In contrast to the calm restraint of the heads, the State of Grace sculptures defy gravity as child-forms spring to life. A sense of light, of innocence, animates these compelling gestures. Low-Beer observes that they hover in a mysterious in-between state, such as before birth or after death, “jumping up but coming down, spinning outward but meditating inward.”

The earliest series in the exhibition, Tools for Daily Living, integrates ceramic elements into mixed media wall hangings. Japanese paper, drawing, printmaking, and found objects offer experiences of bodily experience. The “tools” are hidden body parts and organs – such as nerves, heart, lungs, or brain. While we take them for granted, they – like breath – enable us to fully live.

The artist will be present at the opening reception, to enrich the experience of Susan Low-Beer’s extraordinary work.
See Susan Low-Beer’s website here.
WATCH: Artist talk at the opening reception of Evidence of Breath.
Part 1 of 3 (14m07), Part 2 of 3 (11m07), Part 3 of 3 (coming soon).

In the Minarovich Gallery

The Minarovich Gallery is open Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm
Saturday and Sunday, 12noon – 4pm.
Located at the Elora Centre for the Arts
75 Melville Street
Elora, ON N0B 1S0