Monday, August 26, 2019

April Martin: Harbour Front Centre of Craft and Design Vitrines, Toronto

To Lips velvet, brass, porcelain, mirror 2019 by April Martin
April Martin's reflections on the creation of her work in the exhibition Magical Material Thinking June 8 - mid October 2019 make up the text in this post.  Photos:  Brian Medina.  

The six vitrines push out of the wall into the hallway and transform it from a place of making (studios) to made (galleries). I thought about them as their own worlds, next to one another but with completely different atmospheres. All of them feel hot to me, but different kinds of hot. I like imagining opening a kiln in the middle of a firing and seeing the glaze move in ways you do not get to witness.
Romance Portal brass, wax  2019 by April Martin
My work is about energy. Embedded unseen, perhaps alive.  My titles come from the people I love in my life and there are many.  I will never not have enough information to sort through or manifest into shapes and these are the ones I made at the end of May, 2019.  

In regard to Romance Portal, somewhere in my thinking I became obsessed with the idea of a giant wax chandelier.  I also thought about the lost wax process of sculpture and how it veils the fact that the metallic positives we see actually grew out of a suspended moment in wax.  I encouraged my first ceramics class to make the tiniest fixings for a Barbie banquet because working small with clay teaches you how your hands react to the wet/dry phenomenon that is ceramics. 

I made the tiny beeswax candles on my stove.  
Ideal Solution pewter, cobalt carbonate fired to quartz inversion, earthenware 2019 by April Martin

My main concern with using pewter (especially salvaged) was that there was a potential for lead content but through research I learned that antimony is now present in pewter as a replacement for lead.  Antimony was used in kohl, as a way to darken the eye. 

I was looking for a solution to keep the ceramic standing up and pewter became 
my ideal solution, a low fired heavy metal to balance the face I saw in the clay.  Knowing that embedded in its metallic shine is a chemical that has been used to blacken eyes for beauty, it felt fitting for me to insert cobalt experiments here, as that black area was achieved unintentionally.

I think it’s such a privilege to be able to show work, and it’s always so much work to get to the actual showing part, that when you’re in the thick of the install, editing is absolutely key.  It’s so hard to keep that part of yourself sharp.  
Brightening Visibly copper, wool, carbon fiber 2018 by April Martin
This vitrine looks the most like the inside of a kiln.  It’s lined with thin copper and the constructed plant floats inside, its leaves are copper on one side, wool on the other.   It unfolds and peels open towards the bottom and the copper becomes more exposed.  Brighter.  

The most recent example of my dad exclaiming his personal idiom (the title for this piece) was when a thrift store near our family cottage was discovered.  “April just found out there is a Salvation Army in the closest town?! ... Brightening Visibly!” 

“Brightening Visibly!” is a poetic reaction to how smiles take over the shape of one’s face.  Is a smile bright?  It’s definitely a form of communication, often the simplest way to answer a question, and also a more animal response, it beats your brain and tongue to the words that may actually not fit with this visible sheen. 
Rising Libra fired and unfired cobalt carbonate, clay 2019 by April Martin
I am a Libra rising. 
Rising Libra sounds hotter though. This is a simple structure but the work it’s doing is the most palpable. It’s balancing and it’s fragile and if it fell and broke there would be pink and blue dust everywhere and it would be annoying to clean up but that’s kind of the worst of it.
Snek Out neon, earthenware, unfired cobalt carbonate 2019 by April Martin
Opiomancy. Telling the future by snake trails
Lara who lives in LA but is Dutch helped me with the title.  We were talking about Snakes, Snacks, Sneks and Slung. I like that snek isn’t really an English word, it’s some form of sneaking and snucking and again it feels like a movement that comes from inside.   
To Lips velvet, brass, porcelain, mirror 2019 by April Martin (detail)
It was spring and I had tulips in my house.
My niece whispered “little bit of romance” to me across my parents dining room table on my birthday. 

More about this exhibition on Judy's Journal.

3 comments:

  1. Absolutely marvellous. I love the way April manifests her thoughts and ideas within these abstract forms.

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    1. Yes, her objects fill me with a sense of wonder. My eyes tear up xo

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