Louis Odette sculptors-in-residence to preview their work today

Justin Novak and Brendan Tang, both high-profile artists working in the medium of ceramics, are the invited guests of the 2011 Louis Odette Sculptor-in-Residence Program in the Faculty of Fine Arts. Their residency started May 3 and runs to May 26 in conjunction with the Intensive Sculpture Workshop, a fourth-year course offered by the Department of Visual Arts.

During their residency, Novak and Tang are giving hands-on demonstrations of thJustin Novak eir artistic processes and contributing to the training of student artists while completing their own major sculpture projects in the department’s Odette Centre for Sculpture. Thirteen upper-level undergraduate students are working with them as artists’ apprentices.

Right: Justin Novak

“Novak is working with clay slip casting processes, developing and constructing multiple cast ceramic objects, and Tang is working with thrown and altered vessel forms and finishing techniques,” said visual arts Professor Kevin Yates, coordinator of the residency and workshop course. “This is the first time we’ve been able to offer our students the opportunity to experience these processes here at York. In this exploratory course, they’re creating modular clay forms as an investigation into the field of ceramics and its relation to contemporary sculpture.”

Brendan TangRight: Brendan Tang

The artists will give an informal presentation on their respective work today at 2pm in Room 130, Joan & Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts. The York community and general public are welcome to attend.

Novak has been showing his work, ranging from figurative sculpture to utilitarian objects, at galleries and museums across the US and in Europe and Asia for almost two decades. Much of his ceramic work has been developed within international residency programs, including the Kohler Factory in Wisconsin; the Walbryzch Factory in Walbryzch, Poland; the Arabia Factory in Helsinki, Finland; and the National Workshops of Art and Crafts in Copenhagen, Denmark. He has been visiting guest artist at leading institutions such as the Parsons School of Design and Rhode Island School of Design. He is currently represented by the Nancy Margolis Gallery in New York City, and teaches ceramics and illustration in the Faculty of Visual Art and Material Practice at Emily Carr University of Art & Design, Vancouver.

 Justin Novak's 21c Bunnies (in a Panic), Porcelain, 3.5 to 5 inches in height, 2007
Above: Justin Novak’s 21c Bunnies (in a Panic), Porcelain, 3.5 to 5 inches in height, 2007

Tang’s professional art practice explores the interface between culture and material. A 2010 Sobey Art Award finalist, he is currently artist-in-residence at Medalta in Medicine Hat, Alberta. He was previously a resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena, Montana, and will be participating in the international residency program at the European Ceramic Work Centre in ‘s-HBrendan Tang's 'Manga Ormolu 5.0-f', Ceramics Mixed Media 18.5 by 12 by 9 inches, 2009ertogenbosch, The Netherlands this summer. His work has been showcased at galleries across North America as well as in print and online media. Recent exhibitions include the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Saskatoon’s Mendel Gallery, Vancouver Art Gallery and Toronto’s Power Plant, with upcoming shows at the Denver Art Museum and Museum London (Ontario).

Left: Brendan Tang’s ‘Manga Ormolu 5.0-f’, Ceramics Mixed Media 18.5 by 12 by 9 inches, 2009

The residency of Novak and Tang re-establishes the Louis Odette Sculptor-in-Residence Program launched in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts in 2002. The program strives to create a dynamic learning environment which supports the advancement of the art of sculpture, and where students benefit from participation in and observation of professional studio practices. The residency program provides the opportunity for upper-level undergraduate visual arts students to develop an enhanced working understanding of sculpture techniques from the perspective of eminent guest artists.

Named in honour of longstanding benefactor L.L. Odette, the Louis Odette Sculptor-in-Residence Program is made possible through the generous support of the P. & L. Odette Charitable Foundation.