FUSION: The Ontario Clay and Glass Association

Online Gallery / Mark Flink


Mark Flink

flinkmr@hotmail.com

226 927 3395

 

Biography

I have always been interested and involved in art. My initial university courses were in visual arts. I changed directions, however, and received a BA in History from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. I received my teaching certification from Eastern Michigan University, with a major in history and a minor in visual arts. My wife and I moved to Ontario in 1982. For the most part I produced functional pottery from the 70s to the early 90s. During my years of teaching art at the secondary level through subsequent decades, however, my interests shifted. My current work fits more comfortably into the category of contemporary conceptual art.

Artist’s Statement

I hope this body of work is received as being more about questions than it is about answers. There is no manifesto here. About ten years ago I decided to cover my first objects with clay tiles. It was an epiphany in a way, and a choice that allowed me to avoid the need to develop new clay forms. The implications of that choice have only continued to expand. The objects which have been covered, for example, paradoxically seem to project their “thingness” more than they did before they were covered. The references to art history, and in particular to Dada, are intentional and invite more questions. The suggestion of erasure, destruction and deconstruction, and the parallels to palimpsests*, that the pieces seem to elicit raise issues or problems regarding the certainty with which we know what we know. And of course the question of authorship is also at play in this work.

The interrupted functional possibility that is posed by the tile coverings, particularly for the functional ceramic pieces, could be thought of as stating the obvious. Many pieces of nominally functional ceramic work are really objects of contemplation. The price of many ceramic vases tends to preclude use and places them beyond what is typically thought of as functional.

All of the more recent pieces have been covered with tiles made of local clay. The only addition to the clay is some commercial grog. The tiles are then fired using charcoal. This firing method was chosen because the neighborhood in which we live is made up of small lots and, as well, the city discourages open fires. This method and choice of clay are self-imposed restrictions that had to do with limited equipment and studio space, at least in the beginning. Now, after hundreds of tiles have been fired, it’s a preferred way of working. At least for the time being.

The use of local clay informs this body of work in a number of ways. Here, the term “local clay” is used in the universal sense of the word. Local clays are almost everywhere. Making ceramic objects is one of the things that humans hold in common around the world, since the Neolithic Age and beyond. It is not until the modern period that clays have been shipped over great distances.  This local clay was used by the original people of Southwestern Ontario. It was also used extensively over the past few centuries to make household pottery, drainage tiles for agricultural purposes and in some cases, chimney flues. But maybe most importantly, this clay was used to make bricks for construction purposes. Bricks, in a way then, returns us to the architectural reference made by the tiles and grout in this work.

To avoid any suggestion of the heroic, this work has intentionally been kept small in scale.

     

*      A palimpsest is a manuscript page, either from a scroll or a book, from which the text has been scraped or washed off so that the page can be reused for another document. In colloquial usage, the term palimpsest is also used in architecture, archaeology, and geomorphology, to denote an object made or worked upon for one purpose and later reused for another.

 

Group Exhibitions

2016: Political Art: Landon Branch Library, London, Ontario

1999: Tools, Museum of Ontario Archeology, London, Ontario

1994: Oxford County Art Teachers Group Show, Woodstock Public Art Gallery

1989: London Potters Guild Biennial Exhibition, London, Ontario

1989: Ontario Craft 89, Ontario Crafts Council, Toronto, Ontario

1988: 3rd National Biennial of Ceramics, Galerie d’art du Parc, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec

1988: 2nd Annual Great Lakes Show, Lill Street, Chicago, Illinois

1988: Centre Pieces, Chatham Cultural Centre, Chatham, Ontario

1987: London Potters Guild Exhibition: Award- Best in Show, London, Ontario

1984: London Potters Guild Exhibition, London, Ontario

Installation

2000: “Future Site of the School for Casino Management”, University of Western Ontario

Awards

1989: London Potters Guild Biennial Exhibition: Honorable Mention, London, Ontario

1989: Ontario Craft 89: John Mather Prize, Ontario Crafts Council, Toronto, Ontario

1988: Centre Pieces: Eaton Yale Award of Excellence, Chatham Cultural Centre, Chatham, Ontario

1987: London Potters Guild Exhibition: Award- Best in Show, London, Ontario

Solo Exhibit

1989: Potter: Wheel Thrown Stoneware, Woodstock Public Art Gallery, Woodstock, Ontario

Collections

Woodstock Art Gallery, Woodstock, Ontario

Many pieces of work are also part of private collections inside and outside of Canada.



Book and Hammer: Ceramic Sculpture, Hardcover - 1965 by Betty Davenport Ford, covered with stoneware tiles with commercial glaze and grouted.  24 x 23 cm; Claw hammer covered with stoneware tiles with commercial glaze and grouted. 35 x 15 cm



Vase, Pot Shard and Embudo: Wood fired stoneware vase by Bruce Cochrane, covered with burnished, charcoal fired local earthenware tiles and grouted. 38 x 19 x 13 cm; Pot shard covered with burnished, charcoal fired, local earthenware tiles and grouted. 22 x 15 cm; Embudo (funnel) covered with Cuban clay tiles with commercial glaze and grouted. 15 x 14 cm



Drawing and Cleaver: Framed drawing covered with stoneware tiles with commercial glaze and grouted, 22 x 18 cm; Cleaver, covered with charcoal fired local earthenware tiles and grouted. 30 x 10 cm



Brick and Tea Bowl: Common house brick covered with burnished, charcoal fired local earthenware tiles, not grouted. 22 x 11 x 7; Shino glazed tea bowl, covered with stoneware tiles with commercial glaze and grouted. 14 x 11 cm



Malevich Teapot, Credit Card and Lightbulb: Reconstruction of Malevich porcelain teapot, by Bob Bozak, covered with burnished local earthenware tiles and grouted. 25 x 18 x 10 cm; Credit card covered with stoneware tiles with commercial glaze and grouted. 10 x 7 cm; Lightbulb covered with sawdust clay tiles and grouted. 14 x 8 cm



FUSION gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation, and the Ontario Arts Council. The Ontario Arts Council is an agency of the Government of Ontario. 

    

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