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Clint Neufeld, "Three Deuce’s," 2010, ceramic, wood and cloth, 28” x 67” x 45”.
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"Sad Sea Horse"
Clint Neufeld, "Sad Sea Horse," 2011, ceramic, wood and cloth, 48” x 16” x 30”.
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"Ceramic pillow with carriage assembly"
Clint Neufeld, "Ceramic pillow with carriage assembly," 2013, ceramic, 15” x 15” x 9”.
By Maureen Latta
Clint Neufeld never thought he would be an artist. Raised in small-town Saskatchewan, he served with Canadian peacekeepers in the former Yugoslavia and aspired to be a firefighter. Even when poor eyesight had ruled out that career and he was working on his Master’s degree in fine arts at Montreal’s Concordia University, he figured he would end up teaching.
But Neufeld’s ceramic sculptures of engines drew immediate attention at his first group show, Flatlanders, at Saskatoon’s Mendel Art Gallery in 2008. By 2011, he was first runner-up for the national Winifred Shantz Award for Ceramics. A coveted spot in the Massachussets Museum of Contemporary Art’s prestigious Oh, Canada exhibition followed the next year. This spring, he participates in Manif d’art 7, the Quebec City biennial.
From his studio near the small town of Osler, an easy drive north of Saskatoon, Neufeld discusses why he transforms muscular objects like engines and transmissions into a contradictory medium that more commonly evokes a tea set. “Part of the whole idea was taking these things that we traditionally view as durable and made out of steel and simply make this translation into ceramic and this really delicate material,” he says. “I’ve always been drawn to beautiful things and I’ve always appreciated them.”
Neufeld’s work is often placed in a gendered context, but he is cautious. “There are all these sorts of hyper-masculine ideologies that I grew up with. I can’t remove myself from my own history and so, certainly, that filters into my work. The thing I don’t want is to set up this masculine-feminine dichotomy … My work comes from who I am.”
His latest show, which runs to Jan. 12 at the Sherwood Library branch of the Dunlop Art Gallery in Regina, is a departure from ceramics. The Chandelier, the Trans-Am, the Peacock, the Greyhound and My Grandmother’s China Cabinet features five light boxes made of backlit vinyl cutouts.
Clint Neufeld is represented by the Darrell Bell Gallery in Saskatoon. His work is priced at $1,000 to $20,000.