Magdolene Dykstra’s ceramic figures have captured considerable attention as this St. Catharines artist’s craft has matured. Recently returned from a year-long residency in the U.K., she explores the conflict between hope and despair. Her childishly proportioned figures, often disturbing, bear the burdens of life’s griefs.
(Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition / Photo: Peter Grevstad)
My characters show our hurt, our depravity, and our brokenness. This baggage weighs us down, and ages us beyond our years, shown in the figures’ tired features. –Magdolene Dykstra, artist statement.
Dykstra originally sculpted in stone, but says she shifted to clay, captured by the immediate responsiveness of the medium and its fleshiness as it pushed back against her hands. A mentorship program for ceramic artists at the Burlington Art Centre helped shape her work and she is an active member of the Burlington Potter’s Guild .
Many of Dykstra’s works are torsos, enveloped so that only their faces are seen. They are trapped, she says, their spirits ensnared in physical forms. A series of the wall torsos can be viewed on the site of Toronto’s David Kaye Gallery, which represents Dykstra.