Lee Horus Clark & Yolande Clark, "untitled," Ceramics, 22" x 18"
Lee Horus Clark and Yolande Clark are partners in life and art. With the help of their three little Buddha babies, Lee and Yolande have been woodfiring their kick-wheel thrown vessels and sculptures in their large wood kilns for many years.
The Clarks’ process and vessels are inspired by relationship: earth and fire, man and woman, and by the ceremonies of the everyday. This exhibition yokes the influence of Japan’s ancient pottery traditions with the diverse identities inherent between Canada’s two coasts, East and West. The exhibit will feature natural-ash-glazed works from their newly built Queenstown Anagama, located in rural New Brunswick, a 24-foot kiln inspired by the ancient clay ovens of Shigaraki, Japan, and by the work of acclaimed potter Shiho Kanzaki.
The Clarks explain, “The anagama (tube chamber) was developed in Korea, introduced to Japan in the fifth century, and remained a huge influence on Japanese ceramic art for many centuries. The Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi (beauty in the imperfections of nature) is strongly tied to woodfired ceramics, the ritual of Japanese tea ceremony, and Zen Buddhism. These practices are associated with the revival of the anagama in Japanese culture, and the introduction of this firing method to the west.”
In 2000, Lee travelled to Japan for the first time, which led to his meeting and firing with Shiho Kanzaki, the Shigaraki-based Japanese master of anagama. “Like Kanzaki, our primary interest lies in firing with no applied chemical glaze. Instead, we maintain enough heat in our kiln to achieve spontaneously (through the alchemical interactions between clay, wood, and fire) a natural ash glaze dripping with constellations of brilliant colour.”
All of the wood the Clarks use is locally grown, and sustainably harvested. They use scrap wood whenever possible, and increasingly, they use clays they have dug by hand, from rivers and streams near their home.
Over his 14 year career, Lee Horus Clark has developed an international reputation for his kiln-building skills. He has designed and built several anagama kilns. Lee’s work resides in public and private collections throughout North America and beyond. The King of Bhutan owns one of his vases, and his large “Cut Collar” vase is part of the Beaverbrook Gallery’s permanent collection. Yolande Clark has received several arts grants for her work, and her “Firebox Figure” was purchased for the permanent collection at the Burlington Arts Centre. Her pieces are sought out by collectors in North America and Japan. In 2011, the Clarks travelled together to France to complete a successful 6-week artist-in-residency. For more info, visit: http://www.burntnormal.com