Shelly Rosenblum is Curator of Academic Programs at the Belkin. Inaugurating this position at the Belkin, Rosenblum’s role is to develop programs that increase myriad forms of civic and academic engagement at UBC, the wider Vancouver community and beyond. Rosenblum received her PhD at Brown University and has taught at Brown, Wesleyan and UBC. Her awards include fellowships from the Center for the Humanities, Wesleyan University and a multi-year Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Department of English, UBC. She was selected for the Summer Leadership Institute of the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University (2014). Her research interests include issues in contemporary art and museum theory, discourses of the Black Atlantic, critical theory, narrative and performativity. Her teaching covers the 17th to the 21st centuries. She remains active in professional associations related to academic museums and cultural studies, attending international conferences and workshops, and recently completing two terms (six years) on the Board of Directors at the Western Front, Vancouver, including serving as Board President. At UBC, Rosenblum is an Affiliate of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies.
Curator’s Talk with Nora Vaillant and Shelly Rosenblum: Saturday, May 25 at 4 pm
This exhibition examines an artistic community linked by the aesthetic sensibilities and philosophy put forth by English potter Bernard Leach (1887-1979) and his Japanese colleague Shoji Hamada (1894-1978). The potters Lari Robson, Sam Kwan, Andrew Wong, Ron Vallis, Cris Giuffrida, Heinz Laffin, Vincent Massey, Martin Peters and Hiro Urakami share this lineage. Inspired and influenced by the first generation of Canadian potters who apprenticed with Bernard Leach at his pottery in St. Ives, Cornwall, the West Coast artists in this exhibition articulate an historical period in which the imaginations of many young potters around the world were captured by the studio pottery movement.
The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery’s 2004 Thrown exhibition and 2011 book by the same name focused on the Leach apprentices, John Reeve, Glenn Lewis, Michael Henry and Ian Steele, along with their well-known contemporaries Charmian Johnson, Wayne Ngan and Tam Irving. When they returned to Vancouver from St. Ives beginning in 1961, the apprentices brought with them hands-on knowledge and experience that profoundly shaped the next generation of potters in this region. High Fire Culture provides an expanded view of the working relationships between potters in the wider ceramic community during this same time period of the 1960s and 1970s. It calls attention to the often collaborative nature of claywork, the sharing of practical knowledge from throwing techniques to glaze recipes, and the ways in which the subtleties of the craft are passed from one generation to another.
Many of the participants were students at the Vancouver School of Art during a particularly fruitful time, some of them taught at the art school during this period, some completed apprenticeships, many attended seminal workshops with those who had studied directly with Leach, others studied in Japan, and nearly all traveled to St. Ives making a pilgrimage of sorts to meet Leach himself. The work and careers of these artists have an international value because, although some of them no longer make pots, when they did they made them with an intensity, spirit and style that identifies them as members of the Leach legacy diaspora.
High Fire Culture is curated by Nora Vaillant and Shelly Rosenblum and is organized by the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia, and Satellite Gallery, and made possible with funding from the Doris Shadbolt Endowment for the Arts, the Michael O’Brian Family Foundation, the Hamber Foundation and the North-West Ceramics Foundation, with special thanks to Doug Lane Furniture, Moving Images Distribution, the UBC Museum of Anthropology and the Potters Guild of British Columbia.
This exhibition presented over 600 ceramics produced since the 1960s that were influenced by the studio pottery movement of Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada. Betweeen 1920 and 1996, the Leach Pottery at St. Ives in Cornwall, England was a destination for some 100 apprentices and students from around the world who sought to integrate philosophic, aesthetic and moral ideals into the production of pottery. It has been one of the most significant influences in Western Europe and North American practice in the twentieth century.[more]
Thrown brings together essays by curators, first hand accounts by potters, archival documents, photographs and letters from the personal collections of seven highly respected potters who began to throw pots in the Vancouver west coast area during the 1960s. The book is inspired by the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery’s ground breaking exhibition, Thrown: Influences and Intentions of West Coast Potters. Selected by Matthew Higgs as one of the “Top 10 shows of 2004” (Artforum International) for its unconventional and compelling approach to the studio pottery movement, the exhibition featured over 600 pots by John Reeve, Glenn Lewis, Michael Henry and Ian Steele—the four Canadian apprentices of English potter Bernard Leach—and their like-minded contemporaries Tam Irving, Charmian Johnson and Wayne Ngan. Fresh from their studies at the Vancouver College of Art, each of the four travelled to St. Ives in Cornwall, England and completed a two-year apprenticeship: Reeve, 1958-61; Lewis 1961-63; Henry 1963-65; and Steele 1963-65. When they returned to Vancouver, they found themselves in the swirl and experimentation of the 1960s Vancouver art scene.[more]