The Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery is an art gallery of, I assume, at least national level significance as my boss and his wife bought a sculpture from an Alberta artist after having seen it shown at CCGG.  It is entitled Porcupine Family, is built of clay (natch) and about 400 fencing nails and is generally confused for some kind of industrial equipment when visitors to our office first see it.  This is one of the more accessible pieces associated with the Gallery.

When I was first there some 14 years ago, two particularly memorable installations caught my eye.  I don’t recall the titles of either of them so if anyone happens to recognize one by description, please let me know and I will make appropriate amendments herein.

One seemed at first to be a bunch of garbage left over from some kind of low-class soirée, held at the Gallery the night before and left unattended by a caretaker occupied with thoughts of how to dust the incredibly fragile sculptures created completely of dust.  It was approximately 100 cups, in and around an open glass/wood box.  Not coffee cups as one might suppose in a place dedicated to ceramics.  Not even clear glass cups.  These were very faithful fired and glazed clay reproductions of 100 plastic beer cups such as one might see at a festival.  Some were even crumpled as such cups tend to become. 

I have never claimed to be any kind of art connoisseur but good heavens, what?  In much the same way as I can appreciate Eddie Van Halen’s incredible skill at guitar while still finding Van Halen albums to be unlistenable dreck, the skill with which these cups were created was evident but begged the question, “Why on earth would you do such a thing with your life, honestly?”  The incomprehensibility of the foregoing was quite eclipsed by the second piece.

It is probably best to begin with the media involved in this item.  It struck me very distinctly at the time and I fear its grim fascination may never release me.  Oil drum.  Lumber.  Glass.  Wonderbread.  Let’s just give that a moment to sink in, shall we?

The oil drum formed the main structure of the alleged sculpture.  Inside was what looked to be a two-by-four pulled from a building being torn down.  On top of the two-by-four were several inukshuks made of compressed/rolled/mashed Wonderbread.  The drum had two polar-bear-shaped glass protrusions opposite each other and looking outward in different directions.  One was plain, clear glass and the other was stuffed with mouldy Wonderbread (crusts removed).  My suspicion is that this formed some sort of statement on the corruption of Canada’s natural bounty and native peoples by the arrival of the white man.  Considered from that perspective it may actually be quite meaningful but it looks as though somebody vandalized an existing sculpture on their lunch break.