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My Life in Pieces

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GRACE NICKEL

A wound gives off its own light
surgeons say.”
Anne Carson, The Beauty of the Husband.

I met Grace Nickel behind my back. Five vessels, shorter vases perhaps,  under plexiglass to keep the gorgeous ceramics safely in view,  rested on the credenza in my Manitoba Arts Council office. I met many fine artists, high and low, gentle and harsh,  angry and charming,  during my years in Winnipeg. Grace’s work reminded me of a relaxation exercise I had been doing since the 1980s where the refrain “calm and serene” were heard softly. All I had to do in my MAC office was turn around and meditate

It was her sconces that next drew me to her work.  I am delighted that Grace has agreed to make two sconces, or sconce based sculptures, stand alone, and including light. She has started experimenting with clay thinking about bones and their fragility inside us. 

“A note to let you know that I’ve been reading the poetry you have sent and I have begun to create some sample “test tiles” for the light sconces. There will be bones (quite possibly some broken), and there will be an overall narrowness to the forms, just as our feet are slender, small bones combining to create the delicate base we stand up on. But something is still missing – cartilage perhaps? – a matrix-like substance or a webbed network that holds it (us) all together? The work will continue.”

LATER

“Today I refined the wall sconces and put holes in them for hanging. It struck me that for this context it would be appropriate to have the metal rods and bolts that they will hang on be visible. I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of metal pins, plates, etc. being inserted into peoples’ ies and left there permanently. Many years ago my brother was in a bad car accident and they had to put several metal plates in his shoulder.* I couldn’t believe it!
I’ll talk to Murray about sourcing suitable hardware.

lATER…

Today I’m envisioning these in a super delicate pink (matt not shiny) with black accents – like bleached bone found on the beach and not yet stripped and fully cleaned of its rotting flesh – too macabre perhaps?In the end the sconces will be attractive, yet clearly biologically-informed (not scientifically accurate by any means, but interpreted through my own artistic lens)I .Hope these are hitting the mark – they still have a long way to go before they are finished- painting, drying, and firing – with fingers crossed.

btww Victor,One sconce is approximately a mens’ size 11 and the other a mens’ size 13 – for your reference.Grace

Nickel’s biography here on our look show site demonstrates her achievements at home and abroad, far and near. This week she is at a rural Manitoba residency. You will see the work I have asked her for is a small part of a large and advanced ceramics practice. 

*Victor’s note: My brother had a bad car accident several years ago and broke his pelvis cross-ways. He has a huge metal wired into his pelvis.  I am screwed several places, and yes, even have a screw loose – in my foot.

Nickel’s biography here on our look show site demonstrates her achievements at home and abroad, far and near. This week she is at a rural Manitoba residency.
You will see the work I have asked her for is a small part of a large and advanced ceramics practice. 

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