FRIDAY 09 MAY, 8:00PM TO 10:00PM



For who is the Potter and, pray who the Pot?

– From Rubaiyat by Persian poet Omar Khayyam (1120 A.C.E), translated by poet Edward FitzGerald 1859.

This exhibition is the result of researching and thinking about pots through the process of making them. What can we learn from the pot?

The pot includes several forms, such as the bottle, jug, jar, and pitcher. The pot is a container that is traditionally used to store food or drink. The pot is an elemental and ancient form, and root word of the term pottery.

Who the Pot? presents a variety of pot-like containers; handmade stoneware set on custom-built supports. From a to-go coffee cup to a Ming dynasty gourd-shaped bottle, these hollow forms with holes are reminiscent of prehistoric, modern, and mass-produced vessels. Metal artifact-stands and white boxes remove pots from their original use as functional vessels. Instead, viewers can take note of the pot’s form, which is the perfect form for fired clay. Clay forms must be hollow and have a hole, just like a pot.

The pots in this exhibition were created through the primitive process of coiling and pinching clay and firing the results in an open fire. These techniques involve collaboration with outside forces. Hand building was the first forming technique developed and has been practiced for thousands of years, often by women potters who are able to do this slow, bit-by-bit work alongside domestic duties of childcare and food preparation. It’s a-one-on-one bodily relationship, as if the pot and potter work together to create something. Pots have weird and hidden internal spaces, familiar to only the potter. Like all pots, the walls rise up capturing space, creating form, both natural and human. Once dried, the pots are fired in a barrel, a process that causes flashing from the unpredictable burning of combustibles, such as hardwood, softwood, newspaper, wood shavings, salt or other high sodium materials like seaweed or dill pickle chips. The resulting surface is galactic: pots are dark, black, and brown with a constellation splattering of white, grey, rust, and smears of yellows and powder blue.

The pot and the potter create the pot together; slowing down time as each coil is attached. It could be called the pot continuum; the capturing of space and time; the convergence of past, present, and future through a pot. For pots are made with earth. They have holes. They contain space. Pots have necks, feet, and mouths. They represent culture but also embody the natural world. They are ancient. They are cosmic. Pots are not just clay objects but elemental entities that connect the potter, the pot, and the viewer to the vast and wild universe.

MAURA DOYLE holds a BFA from the Emily Carr Institute (Vancouver) and an MFA from the University of Guelph. Her multidisciplinary work includes video, ceramics, sculpture, book works, posters and drawing. Exhibitions include New Age Beaver, Modern Fuel, Kingston (2013), Garbologic Objects, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto (2012), Bone Dump, Scotia Bank Nuit Blanche Toronto (2011), Dedicated to you, but you weren’t listening, Power Plant, Toronto (2005), and The Cave and the Island, White Columns, New York (2004). She is represented by Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto and lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario.

The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

Read Who the Pot? Why so Primitive? by ROSEMARY HEATHER, an essay published along side MAURA DOYLE‘S exhibition.

Canada Council for the Arts OAC50



Maura Doyle: Who the Pot?, 2014. Photo credit: Allan Kosmajac