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My work has long been inspired by textile patterns and motifs drawn from the intricate quill and needlework of indigenous Mi’kmaq art, by my research into Western textile history and the central role played in it by women, including my mother’s personal involvement in the British textile industry in the early twentieth century.
Over the past few years, my work has demonstrated a radical shift, and moved from the exhibition plinth to gallery walls, creating entirely non-utilitarian ceramic wall hangings that, in their use of repeated patterns and the quilt-like style of display, inquire into the artistic possibilities inherent in the modernist grid, while retaining textile motifs and references. I have developed a technique for silk screening and mono printing representational images on to porcelain slabs that have permitted me to undertake an introspective and highly-charged self-examination in ceramics. This shift from textile to representational imagery in my ceramic wall hangings has opened it up to entirely new possibilities and levels of meaning.
Additionally, my new series of porcelain boxes intentionally utilize the feminine principal of containment and enclosure. They are a metaphor for women in ceramics, including myself, and are informed by my research on that subject. Moreover, the black box is a term used for something that is mysterious, especially as to function. Its externally visible behavior is considered, and not its implementation or “inner workings”. In these boxes I have deliberately left the “inner workings” to the viewer’s imagination, embellishing the external instead in an ambiguous way.
Very recently, I have moved beyond the confines of separately mounted ceramic wall hangings into larger mixed media gallery installations, exhibiting ceramic works in combination with relief prints dealing with the evolution of sexual freedom as ideas of femininity were historically redefined. This move has allowed me to inquire into those familial associations and connections of the most intimate kind.
Alexandra McCurdy, ceramist/printmaker/independent curator, is a graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (BFA) and the Cardiff Institute of Higher Learning in Wales (Masters in 3D Design-Ceramics). She was an Associate Curator of Ceramics at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia for six years, and has shown her work both nationally and internationally. Her most notable solo exhibitions include The Ties That Bind at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery in Waterloo, Ontario, and two solo traveling exhibitions; Mothers/Daughters, which originated at Halifax ’s Mary E. Black Gallery, and S.O.S: Sources of Support, originating at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, which traveled to the Confederation Centre for the Arts, PEIand to the Burlington Arts Centre, Ontario.Alexandra’s work is in the permanent collections of the International Museum ofCeramics in Faenza, Italy, the Burlington Art Centre, the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, the Canadiana Fund and the Royal OntarioMuseum, the Art Bank of Nova Scotia, theNova Scotia Museum, The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and of the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council. Her work is also in numerous private collections.
Reviews of her work and articles about her career have been included in ceramic-focused periodicals including Australia ‘s prestigious Ceramics: Art and Perception, American Ceramics, Ceramics Monthly from the US, andCanada ’s Contact, Fusion, Arts Atlantic,Ontario Craft and Visual Arts News.