Three Holes Yellow Flag, Red Stripes
Since 2002 I have been fortunate enough to inhabit a small pocket of Lanark County in eastern Ontario. After more than 10 years an intimacy with place is developing and its nuances are surfacing. If I simply choose to look with curiosity and patience, the gift of this space and my life within it becomes a rich education in the wonder of nature. Its vigor and interconnectedness; its cycles of abundance and dearth, and not least, its sheer persistence amaze me. Somewhat mysteriously, this sense of wonder feeds my creative life.
I work in series – often cyclically – sometimes returning to forms, subject matter or themes with new perspective and openness after ‘time away’. I make objects whose purpose may be any of these: to interact with, to contemplate, to observe, or to touch. Pleasure, exploration, and delight are responses I hope to provoke.
For some time I have been interested in the places where humans and nature intersect – the margins and verges that can make amicable neighbours of ‘control’ and ‘abandon’, ‘domestic’ and ‘wild’, ‘culture’ and ‘nature’. In the studio at present, this is feeding an exploration into forms of containment as either spaces of sanctuary and/or restraint.
I moved to this farm after completing a BFA at The Emily Carr Institute for Art and Design (Vancouver, 1999), followed by a few years as a resident artist at Toronto’s Harbourfront Center. Clay is both a visceral and a technically demanding medium to work with which makes life ‘interesting’ for potters. I love its adaptability to any number of processes employed in the making of both my functional and sculptural objects. Throwing, slip-casting, press molding, pinching, slab-building, hand forming have often been combined in the creation of my work. Rich, layered surfaces are built up slowly often using a combination of slips, under-glazes, glazes, lusters and hand-made ceramic decals. I work with several Cone 6 clays, from porcelaneous white clay to red-brown stoneware, chosen to suit the intended form and ‘feel’ of the work.
When not working in the studio I can be found gardening, tending to creatures, trying to play mandolin, observing life, writing about farmers, and collectively organizing a public art project called fieldwork that is situated on my farm.
See Regional Contact interview with Susie Olser: http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1017367
Memento Mori, Memento Anima: Remembering Death in Life
new work by Susie Osler at General Fine Craft, Art & Design
June 4-28, 2015 Opening/meet the artist: Friday June 5, 7-9pm
“The richness of spring is for me an exuberant time of abundance, promise and hope but also an exercise in non-attachment. It invites me to notice new sounds and presences, and to celebrate in the life-filled transformation of my surroundings. Yet it is fleeting. For me the intense surge of joy brought to the season by birds is tinged with the somewhat tragic awareness of its eventual demise.
Birds… to me, they are the spirits inhabiting the verge between earthly and heavenly realms – animating the air with movement and song and coaxing me to reveal richly in the present. They represent Anima, which in Latin can mean air, wind, breath, breath of life, soul.
Becoming aware of the transience of time somehow helps to ‘fatten’ each moment. In its exuberance and ephemerality, birdsong – like the flush of greens and blossoms that unfold in the landscape – is a constant reminder of the passage of time.
Memento Mori, Memento Anima reflects on how death and life are in some way united. It examines the very human tendency to try to capture, contain, and hold onto moments/things as mementos – specimens, photos, objects – and how, by doing this, ‘alive-ness’ may be lost.
Yet birds are having a tough time with the challenges we humans have thrown at them and their numbers are declining rapidly. I fear a time where then voices and feather so familiar to me, will be accessed only through documents, memory and mementos.”- S. Osler