Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Exhibition: “Upstarts” August 6, 2010 – September 3, 2010
An Exhibition of Canada’s Finest Living Ceramic Artists born pre-1940
Venue: Jonathon Bancroft-Snell Gallery
258 Dundas Street, London, Ontario
Contact person: Jonathon
519-434-5443 or toll-free 1-866-229-5244
The Group of Seven artists and Les Automatistes are the painters who changed how Canadians and the world looked at painting in Canada. Similarly a group of ceramic artists changed how we look at clay in Canada. The exhibition “Upstarts” at Jonathon Bancroft-Snell Gallery, London, Ontario ( is a tribute to these artists, their creativity and their tenacity in changing how we look at ceramic art.
Born prior to 1940 the participating artists are witnesses to an extraordinary period of huge social change. Their lives have been influenced and affected by a world depression, a world war, and the dramatic rise of the middle class. The traditional iconic role of clay as a medium for function was first acknowledged and then often ignored by many of the exhibiting artists. They chose instead, as did the artists in other mediums, to test and challenge both the material and the public’s perception of what constitutes ceramic art. They are the “Upstarts”. They are the artists who have worked in relative obscurity when compared to painters, often ignored by the arts elite. It is time to recognize their contribution to Canada’s art mosaic.
The evolution from functional wares to the avant-garde began primarily in the sixties and seventies, a time of enormous social and political change. Some of the pioneers, Ruth Gowdy-McKinley RCA (d.1981), Luke Lindoe RCA (d.2001), Walter Drohan (d.2007), Marilyn Levine (d.2005) are no longer with us. However many of these great Canadian artists, who participated in this new approach to ceramic art, are still alive.  The exhibition “Upstarts” is to honour and recognize these artists.  
The exhibition “Upstarts”, August 5 -September 2, is a tribute to those artists who are still creating and enriching our lives through their art. Each of the participating artists is over seventy; some are in their eighties. They come from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds and from all over Canada. Their ranks include Saidye Bronfman Award winners, Royal Canadian Academy (RCA) members and Order of Canada recipients. They have exhibited and are represented in every museum in the world that houses contemporary Canadian ceramic art.  “Upstarts” is an exhibition showcasing Canada’s great artists who, working in clay, have forever changed the way we look at ceramics. These are the artists who have provided inspiration to generations of ceramic artists nationally and internationally. They have headed the ceramic departments of Canada’s leading art schools and universities. This exhibition is a tribute to them and an opportunity for novices and collectors alike to connect with the best in Canada, living national treasures who are the “Upstarts”. 
Lois Etherington-Betteridge, metal artist, is included in this exhibition of her peers in recognition of her contribution, in a like manner, to the art of metalsmithing.  
Please feel free to contact me for any additional information.
Jonathon Bancroft-Snell

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