OH CERAMICS !
Esplanade Art Gallery, Medicine Hat, Alberta, canada, 2017
SQUARE THE PINE, CIRCLE THE SQUARE
The term Square the Pine refers to planing the outer edges of a tree log in order to transform its rounded shape into a square beam. The expression to Square the Circle refers to an attempt to do something that is very difficult. At the turn of the last century, for smaller communities that did not have access to a mill, squaring a pine was undeniably a labour-intensive work for skilled carpenters.
In the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic (Lunenburg, NS), there exists a hand-painted wood artifact : a visual cutting illustration that depicts the steps to follow in order to square a pine, and further, how to cut that solid square beam into a rounded Spar or Mast for a ship. The artifact is rather beautiful in its instructional simplicity: cut black sections first, then yellow, then red, then white. SQUARE THE PINE, CIRCLE THE SQUARE takes inspiration from this artifact, and speaks to the arduous work of early Canadian woodsmen and shipbuilders; A visual link between a natural forest resource and our collective heritage of woodworking endeavours.