Septembre 09 -30 , 2023
25 Rue Beausoleil, St-Gabriel QC J0K 2N0
WARNING, EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SINGLE-WIDTH SLOW STEEP WINDING UNMAINTAINED ROAD AHEAD are just some of the warnings engraved in clay by ceramic artist Veronika Horlik to let us know that the path that we are on is not without risk. In Anthropocene 1, this ceramist, with over 25 years’ experience in the field, has decided to involve the viewer in her new body of work, tackling themes that are dear to her: deforestation and the Canadian natural landscape. The works demonstrate a great mastery of their medium and, in the current context of the great fires devastating our planet, are deeply moving.
As soon as you enter the gallery, you have the impression of arriving after a catastrophe, as you find yourself in front of a pile of burnt logs – in the artist’s hands, clay has become charred wood.
On the wall, facing these smoking remains, a series of installations presented as stations invite us to follow narrative threads that addresses causes and consequences of climate change. The presence of the painted chevron motif, an industrial incursion into nature, reminds us in the manner of a road sign that a deviation of path must be made with regard to our future.
This exhibition oscillates between playfulness and drama, in an aesthetic imbued with the imagination of childhood – colored mirrors, tic-tac-to, animals, shimmering colours -. Here, the glazes, from deep black to luminous grey, resemble “motor oil dripping on little rabbits”, as Horlik would say.
The Anthropocene marks the beginning of the large-scale impact of human activity on the biosphere, and Veronika Horlik – through these ceramic works on a human scale – delivers a look that balances beauty and destruction on the current state of our forests. She knows this forest well, having worked in reforestation camps in northern Quebec, Ontario and Alberta.
This is the most powerful and accomplished of the artist’s exhibitions, with which she begins a multi-part series on the forest in the face of climate change.
For Ceramics enthusiasts, this exhibition is a tour de force, with its diversity of techniques, formats and spectacularly nuanced glazes.
Text by Julie Hétu
Image : Rémanents / Slash, detail.