A Canadian Bestiary

Ceramist Janet Macpherson is acclaimed for her technically complex use of slip-cast porcelain in the creation of intricate animal forms. The Gardiner Museum commissioned her to do a special solo multimedia exhibition in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary this year.  It’s called A Canadian Bestiary.

The exhibit is composed of vignettes that include sound, video and music. The migration section (above), for instance, reminds us via the bridge that in Canada, except for First Nations, we’re all immigrants. In Decoy (below) the focus is on how human settlement damaged the food chain – with animals bandaged to show the harm.

The museum says the exhibition “conveys a very personal view of Canada that draws on the artist’s own experiences, memories of her Catholic childhood, and a distinct visual language characterized by hybrid animal creatures that stand in for the complexity of human interactions.”

Some works are curious, hybrid creatures, often small in scale, wrapped, bandaged or masked. Others are full-size and true to life.

Macpherson made more than 100 objects for the show, and also contributed as her own songwriter.  The exhibition runs through May 22, 2017.


Janet Macpherson’s website, here.

Her bio/CV, here.

Gardiner Museum, here.

Read Toronto Star Visual Arts Writer Murray Whyte’s piece, here.

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