February 2nd - 23rd, 2018
Q: What does an object of service look like at work?
The symbolism of grapes is found in classical literature and appears widely in mythology as attributes of gods and goddesses to signify fertility or prosperity. But a grape individually serves no allegorical purpose. It becomes almost insignificant, like the most unassuming of objects.
Grapes in this context describe the ceramic practice of Maggie Boyd. By referring to the vessels as utilitarian "object of service"1, it may seem to complicate their efficiency as a means to deliver narrative. A pot is not a blank canvas. When used judiciously, a message can be amplified, therefore holding meaning in its being. In this context, the practical condition of Boyd's pottery does not suffer the fate of the solitary grape, marrying the object of service with artistic content.
Her drawings of the ceramic work in progress document process. They contrast content between media and demonstrate discovery from imagination, intuition, impulse, and empirical design. The ceramic work serves as a vessel while the drawing will always be a drawing, which will dominate the decisions around putting each piece to work. How they operate is essentially what separates and limits one, the other, or both.
Suggestive, confrontational, and mystical, Boyd’s ceramics plunge into the feminine psyche. And by accepting utility, pottery advances the starting places for personal, social, and political expression. The presence of sexual iconography challenges gender roles, deconstructs female stereotypes, and prescribes a new understanding of woman’s work and place in society.
Embedded in the Instagram era, the artist has been introducing one of the oldest media with a very new visual communication platform. Whether it be ceramics, drawing or through social media, excess, apparent lack of composition, and elements of surprise unite in harmony in her practice. Uniformity is not desired; individuality is more meaningful. A poetic expression that creates an intuitive body response, and leaves the viewer in charge of filling in the blanks to the questions they suggest. What does an object of service look like at work? Grapes.
Maggie Boyd is a Vancouver-based artist working predominantly in ceramics and illustration, exploring the unique stylization of myth, comedy, politics and drama, and the use of populist objects as a stage for satire and social criticism. Maggie attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) and was awarded in 2014 by the BC Arts Council to pursue mentorship under renowned ceramicist Glenn Lewis. Her works have been recently shown at the San Diego Art Institute, Gallery of BC Ceramics, Center A, and the Burnaby Art Gallery.
1. As stated in a conversation with fellow artist Sydney Hermant.