Exhibit Reviews / Comptes rendus d’expositions
Kelly Kristin Jones. NWL. The Luminary, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America. October 8 – December 10, 2022
This paper attempts to define a visual culture of plate glass in Canadian exhibition buildings during the second half of the nineteenth century. I approach this material through descriptions and depictions in Canadian periodicals vernacular versions of the “Crystal Palace” exhibition building. In Canadian publications, their glass surfaces often take on certain metaphorical significance, coming to stand in for modernity, to signify purity by their clarity, or to promise a quintessentially modern honesty and openness, as their solid surfaces maintained visual limpidity. However, though glass is allusive in many ways, its signification also remained elusive. Any meaning that glass may encompass is always accompanied by its own opposite; glass can change in a moment from lucid to reflective, from refracting beams of bright light to darkening and dulling, and though it is a physically protective layer, it also permits unmitigated visual connection. The relationship of nineteenth-century Canadian periodicals to the material is marked by this ambiguity. I suggest that glass’s physical capacity for dualism is an apt metaphor for the way that the meanings it signified were often contradictory, even when simultaneous. I argue that in the context of these buildings, which intended to put the industry of Canada on display in the service of defining and asserting an emerging nationalism, the paradoxes encompassed by the developing cultural imaginaries around glass are mirrored by the paradoxes of Victorian Canadians’ ambiguous and conflicting relationships with nationalism and modernization.
A problem facing art historians and scholars of visual and material culture studies is the white patriarchy that undergirds most visual culture produced in the western world, at least until recent times: whether paintings, book illustration, sculpture, advertising, or the environments that nourish and house these creations, both the producer and the intended viewer for the most part came from one demographic category. Building upon the concept of affordance, this essay questions object-human interactions to propose methodological approaches to visual culture that privilege the inclusion of otherwise siloed or marginalized people (women and people of colour, but also non-western people). By centering on the object represented in or through an image, this essay explores ways of detecting marginalized presence so to foment a more inclusive visual culture while formulating new types of questions that can be asked of our visualized world.
The Material Culture of Exiled Families Housed in Hotels: Tensions between Settling in and Instability
This article combines the topics of material culture, poverty and migration. It describes the material culture of families exiled in France who are illegal immigrants, living without resources and without independent accommodation. They are put up in budget hotel rooms by social services, often staying for several years. How do these families of three or four live in their hotel room? What objects do they surround themselves with? What does the accumulation of objects mean to these families? What are their spatial practices with these objects?
The lot in life of these illegal migrants is to wait – they have been waiting for several years for their situation to be regularized, which would mean being able to get a job, job training, economic resources and independent accommodation. This article starts with the objects of migration so as to arrive at an understanding of the conditions of these subjects in exile.
It describes the domestic arrangements and daily gestures that this accommodation renders difficult. In particular, it addresses the dual problem for these families exiled in France of storage and clutter – an important aspect of material cultures. By analysing storage spaces, I will show how families constitute for themselves a material culture of habitation as they await their official status.
Cet article croise les thèmes de la culture matérielle, de la pauvreté et de la migration. Il décrit la culture matérielle de familles exilées en France, en situation irrégulière, vivant sans ressources et sans logement autonome. Elles sont hébergées par les services sociaux dans des chambres d'hôtel bon marché souvent pendant plusieurs années. Comment ces familles de trois ou quatre personnes vivent-elles dans leur chambre d'hôtel ? De quels objets s'entourent-elles ? Que signifie l'accumulation d'objets pour ces familles ? Quelles sont leurs pratiques spatiales avec ces objets ?
La condition de ces migrants illégaux est l'attente - ils attendent depuis plusieurs années que leur situation soit régularisée, ce qui signifierait pouvoir obtenir un emploi, une formation professionnelle, des ressources économiques et un logement indépendant.
Cet article prend pour point de départ des objets de la migration pour arriver à comprendre les conditions de ces sujets en exil. Il décrit les arrangements domestiques et les gestes quotidiens que cet héberhement en hôtel rend difficiles. Il aborde notamment le double problème pour ces familles exilées en France du rangement et de l'encombrement - un aspect important des cultures matérielles. En analysant les espaces de rangement, je montrerai comment les familles se constituent une culture matérielle d'habitation dans l'attente de leur statut officiel.
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J. Victor Owen, Erin Adlakha and Delaney Carter
This paper presents compositional data for crawling glazes made by prominent studio potters in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia during the mid-20th century (Erica and Kjeld Deichmann, Eleanor and Foster Beveridge, and Carrie Mackenzie) with the objective of (1) identifying key glaze ingredients, and (2) determining whether glaze recipes were shared by these potters, or if the glaze produced by one (likely the Deichmanns) inspired others to re-create it. Crawling glazes are those that retract during firing, creating “islands”. They commonly have unusual compositions (e.g., high alumina contents) to ensure a high viscosity and surface tension, but crawling can also be triggered by treating the ceramic surface to minimize adhesion with the glaze prior to firing. The Deichmanns used different formulae to produce their signature “Snow on the Mountain” (SOTM) crawling glaze used on redware versus stoneware. Three of four of their analysed glazes are magnesian owing to the use of magnesium carbonate (the mineral magnesite); the fourth is highly potassic and calcic (suggesting the use of “pearl ash” and “whiting”) and less aluminous. The Beveridges’ counterpart, though visually-similar, has a distinct composition, and calcium-magnesium carbonate (dolomite) was used instead of magnesite. Crawling was ensured in most samples by high alumina contents. Mackenzie’s glaze is visually distinct (i.e., is brown, not white) and has very high lead and low alumina, lime and magnesia contents. Crawling in it and in the single low-alumina Deichmann glaze is attributed devolatilization of carbonate minerals, thick application and/or pre-glazing surface treatment. The analytical data suggest that the Deichmanns did not share specific details of their SOTM glaze formulae with the Beveridges, who evidently sought to re-create them. Mackenzie formulated a distinct crawling glaze, but also made knobbed wares likely inspired by the Deichmanns’ well-known “Kish” bowls.