Regina Clay: Worlds in the Making
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Regina Clay: Worlds in the Making

by Timothy Long

Clay is a paradoxical medium. Its history as a material for pottery is as old as mud, but as a medium for sculpture it has about the same antiquity as the aluminum pop can. It can take any shape, mimic any material, but despite its versatility it has struggled to win the respect given to metal and stone. As a medium with too much and not enough history, with abundant promise but too little esteem, it was very much like the place where it found an unexpected home in Canada during the 1960s and 1970s: the small prairie city of Regina, Saskatchewan.

How ceramics came into its own as a sculptural medium in Regina is a story with well established narratives connected with the arrival of key individuals in Regina and with the lively exchange of ideas which took place between the Regina and California clay scenes.[1] Less often discussed are the details of how the movement coalesced at the end of the 1960s and gained attention, first within Regina and later within the national and international arenas, over the course of the 1970s. An attendant gap in the narrative has been the lack of an in-depth discussion of the meanings of this movement or analysis of the messages embodied in the fantastic array of objects created at this time. In presenting the work of fourteen Regina artists who came to prominence from 1965 to 1975—the period which saw the greatest concentration of artists working in sculptural ceramics—this exhibition attempts to extend the narrative of Regina clay through an inclusive approach to the selection of artists and by giving attention to how meanings were generated and received in response to their remarkable production.

I. Worlds Away: the Regina Ceramists in Paris

The emergence of Regina ceramics takes place at a moment of tension and transition in Canadian art. Against the backdrop of a waning international modernism, the period of the late 1960s to early 1970s witnessed the dizzying post-pop proliferation of new approaches to art. One of the first attempts to register this complexity was the exhibition Canada Trajectoires 73, which placed the Regina ceramists in the context of a plethora of emerging postmodern practices. A look at this exhibition, the first to present Regina ceramists as a group internationally, illuminates several issues which from the outset have complicated the definition and reception of this movement.

Regionalism in Canadian art is in many ways a nationalist construct, the constantly renewed labour of the national art institutions whose task it is to identify newly emerging constellations of artists from the vast and varied geography of Canada.[2] During the 1960s, an era which saw the cresting of nationalist enthusiasm around Expo '67, two National Gallery of Canada exhibitions exemplify this practice: Five Painters from Regina, which gave rise to the Regina Five in 1961, and The Heart of London, which defined the regionalist movement in London, Ontario six years later. To understand the movement that saw the rise of ceramic sculpture in Regina during the late 1960s and early 1970s, it would seem logical to look for an equally definitive exhibition. The presentation of six Regina ceramists as part of the international exhibition Canada Trajectoires 73 offers a likely candidate.

The national institution in this case was the Canada Council, which had taken on the task of assisting the initiating institution, le Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris, in assembling a wide reaching presentation of new art from Canada. Trajectoires marked an attempt to show "the other slope" of Canadian art to a French public more familiar with Canadian abstractionists. The exhibition was divided into six sections: Painting, Sculpture, Film, Video, Artists' Groups, and with a section all to themselves, Regina Ceramists. The inclusion of Victor Cicansky, Joe Fafard, David Gilhooly (who by then was living in Aurora, Ontario), Ann James, Marilyn Levine and Russell Yuristy was thanks largely to the efforts of Suzanne Rivard Le Moyne, director of the visual arts and film section of the Canada Council, who had met a number of the artists on previous trips across Canada.[3] Rivard Le Moyne, an ardent supporter of emerging practices, had been contacted by Pierre Gaudibert, then director of the ARC section (Animation-Recherche-Confrontation) of the Musée, and curator Suzanne Pagé, who wished to visit the studios of artists across Canada in preparation for the exhibition. Rivard Le Moyne then arranged contacts through galleries and curators across Canada, including Nancy Dillow, director of the Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina (NMAG).[4] The exhibition offered a comprehensive picture of the emerging trends in painting and sculpture as well as early film and video practices and the work of collectives, such as Image Bank and General Idea. On a thematic level, regionalism was one of the key concepts addressed. Pagé gives special attention in her catalogue introduction to works which she feels are "profondément et authentiquement enracinés dans le terrain sociologique qui les porte, ce qui donne lieu à un art qui sait être régional sans jamais rien avoir de 'provincial'" [profoundly and authentically rooted in the artist's sociological environment, a fact which gives rise to an art that knows how to be regional while never being 'provincial.'][5] The conditions for the Regina ceramists were seemingly ideal, with a critical framing and exposure tailored to help them emerge simultaneously into national and international visibility.

Yet there are profound problems with this narrative. To begin with, Pagé applies her description of regionalism only to the painters and sculptors in the exhibition, not to the Regina ceramists. Despite their regional composition and content, their work receives a separate comment and it is described, somewhat patronizingly, as having a "naïveté piquante et rustique" [naïveté that is piquant and rustic.][6] Although the inclusion of the ceramists was in itself a daring act at a time when many still associated clay with craft, Pagé's decision to address them in a separate category reflects the persistent tendency to identify ceramics with the work of artisans rather than artists.[7] This categorization has not been a problem solely in France, but it is part of a pattern which has dogged discussions of Regina ceramics over the years and which has resulted in the movement being considered, more often than not, in isolation from the mainstream of Canadian art.

The exhibition is problematic from other perspectives. It appears on the surface to present a coherent grouping of artists, yet as Terrence Heath observes in his essay, "Non pas que ce soit vraiment un groupe: il n'y a pas de hiérarchie, pas de structures, ni même d'association" [Not that this is really a group: there is no hierarchy, no structure, not even an association.][8] In looking for a common thread, Heath dismisses what he considers as "specious" connections to funk, pop and neo-realist movements. He concludes that what they share is an ambition to "rendre les sentiments humains sans verser dans le sentimentalisme" [render human emotions without falling into sentimentalism.][9] Once again, thematic aspects of their work receive little comment. A further difficulty with the exhibition stems from its timing and selection. There are artists intimately linked to the development of ceramics in Regina who are not included (e.g. Jack Sures and Ricardo Gómez) and artists who in a short time will create notable contributions which this moment misses (e.g. Margaret Keelan, David Thauberger and Lorne Beug). Finally, the exhibition did not generate the kind of sustained recognition that has attended their modernist predecessors in Regina and their regionalist counterparts in London. While the show was a popular success in Paris, evoking strong reactions both of shock and admiration,[10] and it was a confirmation to the artists of the importance of their work,[11] it did not provide the defining moment that earlier regionalist movements had enjoyed. Problems of categorization and composition abound, issues which any analysis of the movement quickly encounters.

II. Worlds in Collision: 1969-73

In the absence of a defining exhibition, the question of who and what constituted the Regina ceramists is left to a consideration of history: the circumstances of the artists' arrivals and departures, the relationships they formed, and the work they produced. As a community of artists, rather than a self-defined group, the list of artists who might be counted as part of Regina clay has always remained open-ended and subject to change based on the time period in question and the relative inclusivity of the approach.[12] In this respect, the years leading up to Trajectoires are crucial to understanding the issues outlined above. The starting point for this consideration will be the year 1969, a year of intense significance (as Sandra Alfoldy points out in her essay for this catalogue).[13] This is the year when sculptural clay begins to come to the fore, leaving to the side its kiln-mate and sometimes rival, studio pottery, a shift signaled by the James Melchert workshop in February 1969 (fig. 19). Organized by Ann James and Beth Hone of the Hone-James Studio and using contacts provided by Ricardo Gómez,[14] the event was not a traditional workshop with demonstrations of various techniques for working with clay. Instead, participants were exposed to Melchert's cerebral approach to ceramics, an approach which referenced pottery as a sign rather than a utilitarian end product, and which made use of clay's narrative and mimetic properties. The workshop opened the Regina ceramic community to a range of unexplored possibilities; one participant in particular, Marilyn Levine, was affected in ways that would impact the ultimate direction of her career. The highly detailed Oxford shoe she created in response to one of Melchert's assignments presaged her move into super-realism the following year; in addition, discussions with Melchert resulted in her choice to study at the University of California, Berkeley.[15] Other legacies of the Melchert workshop are less tangible, but the memory of the workshop remained an important marker within the ceramic community for years to come.

Beyond the impact on individual artists, the Melchert workshop was an important event for what it indicated about the increasing importance of California ceramics to Regina.[16] The knowledge and contacts that Ricardo Gómez brought from California, a place which he had left just as he was beginning to receive serious notice,[17] had provided a personal bridge. Jack Sures was also aware of funk developments as witnessed by his efforts to initiate and organize the NMAG exhibition California Ceramics: Richard Shaw, Michael Frimkess, David Gilhooly, James Melchert, which the Melchert workshop was designed to complement (fig. 20).[18] By this time Victor Cicansky, who had already begun to test the funk waters in Regina with works such as Dow Jones Bag (cat. 7), had gone to the University of California, Davis, and Levine, too, had traveled to the West Coast of the United States and Canada to visit the studios of ceramic artists. And most significantly, in the fall of 1969, California funk artist, David Gilhooly, was hired to teach ceramics in the art department.

For all this activity, a sense of isolation persisted. Coming from the hothouse environment of the San Francisco-Bay Area, Melchert's assessment of the Regina artists was: "If they were going to create something, they would have to find energy from each other."[19] Furthermore, there was no sense of the ceramics scene as a well-defined movement. While several solo exhibitions of the ceramists had been presented, the majority at the Regina Public Library Art Gallery (the Dunlop Art Gallery since 1972), a significant group exhibition had yet to be organized in the city or elsewhere. Gómez by this time had abandoned clay in favour of fibreglass, a material which he had encountered in Vancouver prior to coming to Regina. With Cicansky gone, Levine preparing for further study, and James about to depart overseas for London on a Canada Council travel grant, the promising energy which these former students had begun to generate was dispersing rather than converging.

The sense of a growing, but unrealized potential, for ceramics was also mirrored in the art department. The late 1960s were a period of expansion in the university with the introduction of a new Arts & Sciences curriculum in 1966-67, a move which resulted in a sharp increase in the number of students who took art classes.[20] Growing enrolment spurred the development of the B.F.A. program, which was designed by Sures with an emphasis on interdisciplinarity and which included a full slate of pottery classes.[21] The B.F.A. program went into effect in 1969-70, the same year that Dr. Frank Nulf was appointed Associate Dean of the Division of Fine Arts to handle the growing program. Throughout this time, enrolment in ceramics classes continued to rise, especially in the non-credit Department of Extension Programs where registration in pottery classes more than doubled.[22] Yet, even as the popularity of ceramics soared, the prestige and identity of the department continued to be bound up with more traditional media.

In the early 1960s, Regina had witnessed the dramatic rise to prominence of a group of abstract painters known as the Regina Five (Ronald Bloore, Ted Godwin, Kenneth Lochhead, Arthur McKay and Douglas Morton) (see fig. 44). Under the leadership of Lochhead as head of the School of Art and Bloore as the director of the NMAG, they and their contemporaries had established through the university art school an approach to painting and sculpture that was internationalist in outlook and modernist in its belief in a set of higher cultural values. This stance was reinforced by the annual Emma Lake Artists' Workshops, which under Lochhead and McKay had brought several prominent New York artists and critics to Saskatchewan.[23]

At mid-decade, with the departure of Lochhead (1964) and Bloore (1966) and the fall-out from the controversial 1965 Emma Lake workshop with John Cage and Lawrence Alloway still fresh, change was in the air.[24] Significantly, under the subsequent directorship of Douglas Morton, the art department began to open itself to alternative streams in contemporary art: pop art with the hiring of Russell Yuristy from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1967 , and minimalist and kinetic art with the hiring of Joe Fafard from Pennsylvania State University in 1968.[25] The decision in 1969 to hire David Gilhooly, a funk ceramist, to replace Sures, while he took on new duties as acting director, appeared to confirm the direction toward placing alternative contemporary art practices side by side with those of the modernists.[26]

Thus, in 1969, Regina's art community was in flux, with a celebrated, though somewhat diminished, modernist camp on the one hand, and an active, but as yet unrecognized, ceramics contingent on the other. It was a situation which would be quickly polarized by the arrival of Gilhooly. Gilhooly had emerged in the 1960s as one of the most forceful figures among California funk artists. He was one of Robert Arneson's first students at UC Davis and he had been included in the landmark Funk exhibition at UC Berkely in 1967; indeed, by 1969 he was rivaling the reputation of his teacher as one of the most prolific and inventive artists working in clay.[27] Gilhooly, who was at Davis in the summer of 1969 after quitting his position teaching watercolour at San Jose State, had heard about the job from Cicansky, who encouraged him to apply.[28] His inclusion in the California Ceramics exhibition earlier that year solidified the department's decision to hire him.

When Gilhooly arrived, he quickly found himself confronted with an established hierarchy, embodied most forcefully in the person of Ted Godwin,[29] but he found as well a surging interest in ceramics, especially in new directions emanating from California. Gilhooly also entered a ceramics department where he had a relatively free hand; to accommodate his added administrative load, Sures had traded his duties teaching pottery for classes in printmaking and drawing. A man of six-foot-five-inch stature, Gilhooly was an intimidating presence, who quickly made his irreverent, anti-institutional outlook on life and art felt among students and staff. Like Gómez and Sures before him, Gilhooly bridged the isolation felt by many ceramists and provided a jolt of energy to a community that was ready for an infusion of new ideas.

Regina proved a fruitful working environment for Gilhooly. He quickly resumed work on the frog figures which he had been creating on and off since Davis and he developed them into a full-fledged parallel "Frog World." In short time, Gilhooly was creating everything from tableaux-topped casseroles to busts of famous figures, including his first frog image of Queen Victoria (fig. 21). To Gilhooly, clay, especially the white clay of the hobbyist, was more than just a medium for creating pottery mugs or bric-a-brac—out of its stuff one could create entire worlds.[30] An exhibition in December 1970 at the Regina Public Library Art Gallery, Frog Tut: David Gilhooly, featured a variety of Egyptian-themed frog mummies and pharaohs (cat. 47). However, Gilhooly's approach flew in the face of the modernist eschewal of extra-formal concerns: narrative, anecdote, humour and kitsch. As Matthew Teitelbaum points out, 1969 was the year of the Michael Steiner workshop at Emma Lake, an event which renewed interest in formalist approaches, especially among sculptors. and confirmed a direction still held by Godwin, John Nugent, Don Chester, Clifford Enright and others in Regina.[31] At the same time, Gilhooly challenged the traditional approach to pottery as taught by Sures by embracing the clay bodies and glazes of the hobbyist.[32] It is not surprising then that he came to be the focus of a split in the department. Aside from Fafard and Yuristy, Gilhooly's abrasive behaviour did not win him friends in the department.[33] Furthermore, his practice of assigning "A"s to virtually every student brought him into conflict with department policy and it is probably the reason behind charges of incompetence which led to his dismissal at the end of his two-year term.[34] Gilhooly had left Regina by the fall of 1971, and with the assistance of Ronald Bloore, he found a new position at York University.[35]

Although his time in Regina was limited, Gilhooly was nevertheless successful in overturning the tables in the modernist temple of art. His incendiary impact was felt most directly by fellow faculty member Joe Fafard. Fafard had come to Regina with an interest in minimal and kinetic art, a direction which he had taken at Penn State more as an escape from the pressures of an art department that was obsessed with following the latest trends from New York than as an artistic commitment.[36] However, after seeing a slide show of Gilhooly's work, his first introduction to "Frog World," Fafard began to realize what he had lost during the course of his graduate work: a sense that art could be personally meaningful and fun. Shortly afterwards, he began a series of plaster busts of his fellow professors, a "rogues gallery," which he unveiled before an unsuspecting art department in January 1970. The portraits that he created of Gilhooly, Godwin, Gómez, Sures and Yuristy were lively and good-humoured character studies, although his feelings toward Godwin show through in a Newmanesque line which bisects the subject's head (cat. 23, 24). The "rogues gallery" marked the beginning of a flurry of creative activity by both Fafard and Gilhooly that would shake Regina's art scene. In February, Fafard's wry take on the art department found an echo in Gilhooly's exhibition Baboons Viewing an Exhibition of Frog Art, held in the NMAG's downstairs gallery (this space was reserved for student exhibitions that were programmed by the university art department) (fig. 22). The exhibition featured Gilhooly's "Frog Art"—casseroles topped with scenes from Renaissance paintings (e.g. Pilgrim Frogs, cat. 51)—placed on pedestals among papier-mâché baboons, some titled with obvious references to faculty members (e.g. Russ Orangauke, cat. 49, for Russell Yuristy and Ted and Phyllis Hamadryas Baboon for Ted and Phyllis Godwin). Two months later, Fafard's exhibition at the Regina Public Library Art Gallery, Exhibition of Local Talent: Fafard and Others, featured standing three-quarter-size portraits in painted plaster of Regina's art community—now expanded to include artists, curators, directors and art historians—posed as if engaged in viewing an exhibition of works by local artists on the wall (fig. 23).[38] Both Gilhooly and Fafard announced their exhibitions with invitations that featured hand-drawn illustrations of their work, a format which would be often repeated by other artists over the course of the decade. The exhibitions manifested a shared playfulness regarding the conventions of gallery display and an ironic stance toward the art community at large. A close relationship continued to develop between the artists as they began to share a studio space during Gilhooly's second year and as Fafard journeyed to Davis to visit Gilhooly the following spring. It was around this time that Fafard shifted from plaster to clay, a material which was readily at hand in Gilhooly's studio.

Beyond shared attitudes to life and art, Fafard and Gilhooly did not exercise any direct influence on each other's work. Gilhooly was not interested in parody per se, but with a broad investigation of mythic and historical material as mediated through the filter of his "Frog World." Fafard, however, continued creating caricatures[37] over the next two years, launching satirical barbs at the entire Regina art community in plaster and clay. During this time, art making and the questioning of authority were inseparable activities. Examples from this period include several smaller clay sculptures which feature metamorphic figures, such as The Clothes Horse (Roger Lee) and his Four Horsemen series (see cat. 30). Fafard's opinion about his experience at the 1968 Emma Lake Artists' Workshop led by New York sculptor Donald Judd also crystallized in this period. In response to questions about the workshop, Fafard voiced criticism of what he perceived as an excessive reliance on imported styles and opinions: "We should abolish the reverence that we have for outsiders, just because they are outsiders, or because they are making it on the New York scene."[39] His most visceral statement in reaction to outside authority came in the form of an allegory written for a university symposium in February 1970. "Stud," which was later published by Lady Bessborough Press in Saskatoon, cynically appraises the art world's obsession with leaders and followers. The allegory traces the progress of a humble art student, Stud, as he paddles his canoe to Mecca. It concludes with the character very near his goal: "The farts he picked up from the lead canoes by the time he graduated were still quite fresh. Everyone he spoke to agreed this is what freedom smells like."[40]

Gilhooly's other allies among the faculty were limited in number. Russell Yuristy found Gilhooly a healthy influence in that he "taught that art could be fun again."[41] While impressed with Gilhooly's work, Yuristy did not immediately begin to work in clay, but continued to teach painting and printmaking. A change is evident, however, in Yuristy's desire to withdraw into a personal world of ideas.[42] In 1970 he began a series of ink drawings populated by animal and human figures engaged in voyages in fantastic hybrid vehicles. Around this time Yuristy moved to Silton, a village 45 km northwest of Regina, where he converted a former church into a studio. Yuristy, who had been denied tenure, left the art department at the end of the 1970-71 academic year.

Gilhooly found another sympathetic figure on faculty with the hiring of David Zack, whom he had encourage to apply for an opening in art history for the 1970-71 term. Zack, a fellow Californian, had written reviews of Gilhooly's work, and with his wife Maija Zack, he had entertained the artist in his San Francisco home, Rainbow House. The house was well-known in the Haight-Ashbury district for its psychedelic exterior, which included a Gilhooly fibreglass crocodile climbing up one side (fig. 24). Zack's approach to teaching art history was unconventional. An English scholar with a specialty in William Blake, Zack taught out of a self-published, mimeographed textbook, Basic Art. Laced liberally with personal references, the text championed artists with a strong personal vision and a subversive stance toward authority, including a number of California funk artists (which Zack preferred to call "Nut Artists"). Maija Zack, who had attended Arneson's classes at the same time as Gilhooly,[43] had developed a reputation before leaving California for her wildly patterned animal fantasies based on alliterative titles. After arriving in Regina she continued to create work on the fringes of the university scene, combining fabric and ceramics in her crocheted "Woofishes" (named in honour of her dachshund "Woof") (see cat. 101), as well as experimenting with clay sculpture. David Zack, like Gilhooly, showed disregard for traditional instructional and grading practices and his contract was not renewed at the end of his second year. David Zack remained in Saskatchewan for the next several years, moving for a time to Silton, where he continued to associate with Yuristy. Maija Zack, however, returned to California in 1971 after learning of her husband's affair with a young ceramics student.

Gilhooly's effect was no less dramatic among his students. Through frequent slide shows, Gilhooly exposed his ceramics students to a wide range of possibilities and then gave them the freedom to do what they wanted. For students who wanted serious instruction in throwing on the wheel or stoneware reduction firing, Gilhooly's approach was frustrating.[44] But for students who looked for alternatives to modernism, like David Thauberger, Gilhooly was a breath of fresh air because he "spoke to different concerns" and exemplified a "non-exclusionary" approach.[45] Thauberger had left the department earlier out of frustration with a rigid modernism.[46] A visit to Fafard in the fall of 1971, however, fortuitously coincided with Gilhooly's first "Frog World" lecture, an event which inspired Thauberger to begin working in clay in his apartment. The following term Gilhooly, who usually worked at home, invited Thauberger to work in his university studio. For the next year and a half, Thauberger continued to create clay sculpture with a funk style and content derived from Gilhooly, Arneson, Clayton Bailey and others, before going on to graduate school at Sacramento State University (1971-72) and later at the University of Montana in Missoula where he studied with Rudy Autio (1972-73).

After Gilhooly's and Yuristy's departures, Fafard found himself isolated within the department. New hirings, such as the appointment of sculptor John Nugent, had reinforced the formalist direction of the department. The emotional distance he felt became a physical one with his decision to move to Pense, a small town 30 km west of Regina in 1971. Despite a lack of encouragement within the department, Fafard continued to develop his ceramics in new directions. A critical turning point came as a result of a request by one of the custodians at the university to do a portrait of his father, Michael Haynee, a Turkish immigrant, who was 107 years old (fig. 25). This portrait, which Fafard "couldn't treat . . . as lightly as I'd been treating the others," pointed to an approach to sculpture that moved from caricature to portraiture, from satire of the moment, to a memorializing of the past.[47] Shortly afterwards, Fafard's father died, an event which led to his family portraits and, eventually, to his series based on the residents of Pense. It was around this time as well that Fafard began to work on cows, a subject which engaged his childhood farm memories.

While tensions grew in the art department, a new sense of community was beginning to emerge outside its walls. Fafard continued to see Yuristy, whom he introduced to clay in 1972. Like Fafard, Yuristy's work in this medium led him into a deeper consideration of his childhood experiences and resulted in sculptures which explore prairie vernacular imagery. Furthermore, three former students, Cicansky, Levine and James, returned to Regina between 1970 and 1972 and they quickly reinforced the new interest in ceramic sculpture.

The first to return was Cicansky, who, as we have seen, studied at Davis where he absorbed the California funk atmosphere. There he had experienced a "total freedom of materials, ideas, and attitudes."[48] However, even as he took in his new environment, he found echoes of home. Ramshackle cabins in the Russian River area of Northern California reminded him of the small houses and backyard sheds of his old neighborhood in Regina. Works such as his all clay picnic table, The Last Picnic (fig. 12) and Brown Boot with Green Toes (Clodhopper) (cat. 8), offer a taste of his offbeat improvisational aesthetic. Cicansky began exhibiting in California with promising results, but his wife Fran's pregnancy and political tensions in the United States prompted a desire to return.[49] He made the trip back to Regina in 1970, after completing his M.F.A., to take a position teaching art education in the university's Education Department. When he resumed his studio work, after settling into his teaching position, it was not long before he began to explore the subject matter of his youth in ceramic tableaux which were populated by immigrants and other outsiders. With a Saskatchewan upbringing and the experience of returning home after training in U.S. schools, Cicansky shared a natural bond with Fafard and Yuristy. In 1974, he followed his colleagues to the country and moved to the town of Craven which is in the Qu'Appelle Valley about 30 km northwest of Regina, where he converted a former school into a studio.

Marilyn Levine returned to Regina from Berkeley in the fall of 1971 to teach pottery and serve as Head of Fine Arts in the university's Department of Extension Programs. While at grad school, Levine had gone through a transition from a pop fascination with impersonal consumer objects (e.g. Soft Empties 7-Up, cat. 85) to an interest in objects imbued with a sense of personal history (a transition not unlike Fafard's). The shift can be traced to the occasion when the partner of a studio mate gave her a pair of his dirt encrusted work boots to use as a model. The act of recording the worn leather surfaces drew her into a consideration of how human presence can be marked through absence, a kind of portrait in absentia. Thus began a lifelong concern with the aesthetics of trace, which was to give her objects an animation and resonance that lifted them beyond mere trompe-l'oeil.

When Levine returned to Regina after completing her M.F.A., she brought with her the experience of a super-charged Bay Area ceramics scene and connections to a dealer in San Francisco, Hansen Fuller.[50] Her return to Regina did not spell the end of her U.S. connections, however. Shortly afterwards, she was included in the influential exhibition Sharp-Focus Realism at Sidney Janis Gallery in New York, an exhibition that placed her work at the centre of debates around practices which were variously called "photo-realism," "hyper-realism" or "super-realism." In the spring of 1972 she was invited by Arneson to be his sabbatical replacement at UC Davis, but she returned to Regina in the fall to teach half-time as Jack Sures' sabbatical replacement and half-time in Extension.[51] Without the assurance of a full-time position in either Extension or Visual Arts, she applied for positions at the College Art Association meetings in New York in January 1973 and she was accepted at the University of Utah. During her time in Regina, she was not especially close to Fafard, Yuristy or Cicansky, although she visited Fafard at his Pense studio and shared with him the task of ordering materials for their classes.

Like Levine, Ann James returned to Regina after gaining success abroad, but unlike Levine, her aesthetic direction had been set prior to leaving. James had studied in England as a painter, but she was drawn to clay after taking classes with Sures shortly after his arrival. From the start, she "did everything that was wrong apparently according to . . . Bernard Leach," making off-beat floral and figurative compositions, using coloured clays and low-fire glazes.[52] Clay suited James' interest in process, which she described as a concern with "the moment between actual thought and the happening of the work."[53] An encounter with Edward Kienholz, who stayed with her in Regina at the time of his 1966 exhibition at the NMAG, Edward Kienholz: Assemblages and Tableaus 1957-1966, exposed her to the emerging West Coast funk aesthetic, with its affinity for bad taste, personal narrative, found object assemblage and surrealism. Although his works were not made of ceramic, James found in Kienholz's socially charged assemblages a confirmation of the direction she was taking in her figurative work. An exhibition at the Regina Public Library Art Gallery in 1968 gave some indication of her potential to upset aesthetic and social standards with amorphous clay sculptures and sardonic commentaries on women "being treated as furniture" in female figure-chairs, such as What's A Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (cat. 66).[54] James departed from Regina just three days after meeting Gilhooly in her studio, an encounter which, according to James, provoked Gilhooly to say that he "didn't know anything like this was going on in Regina."[55] Rigid polyurethane foam became an important medium for James after seeing the insulating material used by workers at the Saint Katherine's Docks in London, England.[56] She used the material to create figurative sculptures that favoured, as in her ceramics, expressionistic effect over technical control. During her time in England, James' work was included in a flurry of exhibitions including Osaka 70 in Japan, London Now in Berlin and a solo exhibition at the Courtauld Institute in London. She continued to work with foam, creating a series of sculptures based on prostitutes she had encountered in English pubs, such as I'm Roberta I'm Betina (cat. 69).[57] In 1972 she had a solo exhibition at Canada House Gallery, where she ventured into installation art, creating a space out of hanging foam cobwebs—a commentary on environmental degradation.

When financial commitments brought her back to Regina in 1972, she found an art community that was, in some ways, similar to the one she had left, with Gilhooly gone and Levine and Cicansky back in the city. What had changed was the number of individuals who were working in clay in a sculptural mode. In 1973 she bought out her partner in the Hone-James Studio, Beth Hone, who was moving to the nearby town of Lumsden, and she continued to work, attracting two young women ceramic artists, Ruth Welsh and Patricia (Bjarnason) Courtnage, who had become disaffected with the university's program.[58] Even without a Saskatchewan upbringing, James, an outgoing and gregarious woman, socialized and exhibited with Fafard, Yuristy and Cicansky, who affectionately referred to her as the "Godmother." Reflecting on the unlikelihood of their association, James notes, "Victor, like he says, comes from [the] garlic flat[s]—he's Romanian, Russell is Ukrainian, Joe's French and I have the British background, I was brought up in London. I feel like a fish out of water quite often here. When the boys get excited about 'just feel that forty below and just breathe that fresh air in,' I want to bury myself."[59] A sense of cultural difference extended to their work. Even though they exhibited together, James felt that their work remained independent, observing that "it's like seeing four different shows. . . . There was really no relationship other than material and glazes."[60]

Fafard's decision to put together an exhibition for the student gallery at the NMAG in January 1973, The Regina Ceramists, marked an important recognition of the ceramics scene that had emerged with the return of Cicansky, Levine and James. With the addition of Yuristy, who had begun to work in clay at Fafard's suggestion, and Gilhooly, whose influence had been important for Fafard and Yuristy, the exhibition offered a picture of developments in Regina over a critical three-year period. Recognition had already occurred to a great extent in exhibitions at the Dunlop Art Gallery over this period, though with varying combinations of artists and the frequent inclusion of individuals who worked in other media.[61] The significance of Fafard's exhibition was its focus on sculptural clay and the fact that each of the artists by this point was producing the work upon which their later careers would be built: Fafard's portraits of family members and small town folk, Cicansky's outrageous outhouse constructions, Yuristy's ram figures, Levine's recently perfected translations of leather into clay, James' shock-inducing foam and clay constructions, and Gilhooly's garden-obsessed frog figures. Furthermore, the exhibition highlighted the artists' debt to California clay modes, a commonality that went beyond a shared use of materials.

While offering a snapshot of the most advanced ceramic work in Regina at the time, the picture was not complete. A number of promising ceramists had moved in and out of the Regina area prior to this time;[62] yet others were still in school and would not make their contributions for a year or more, most notably David Thauberger, who would return to Regina in the fall of 1973. Another missing figure was Jack Sures. The obvious explanation was that he was not in the country, having left for France to spend his sabbatical year (1972-73), a leave which was extended for fifteen months to allow him to participate in a United Nations sponsored program to set up a craft training program on the island of Grenada. A fuller explanation takes into account aesthetic differences as well. Sures' commitment to pottery differentiated him from Gilhooly and Fafard and was the source of an underlying tension. Furthermore, the sculptural work that Sures had done in the 1960s had its source in abstract expressionism, surrealism and Japanese aesthetics and it did not involve the same concern for figuration and narrative found in the others' work.

The Regina Ceramists came on the eve of a sequence of events that would bring Regina clay to national and international attention. When the editors of artscanada heard rumours of a significant exhibition of ceramic sculpture at the NMAG, they called Terrence Heath to find out what was happening. The magazine had had inklings of developments in Regina through a review of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts exhibition Survey '70: REALISM(E)S, which included Fafard, Gilhooly and Levine, and subsequent articles on Fafard and Gilhooly. Heath, who had been covering Saskatchewan art for the past year, called Nancy Dillow, director of the gallery, who assured him that there was no such show on display (presumably because it was held in the university-programmed space).[63] Heath, who confirmed the existence of the exhibition with Fafard, wrote a review, which appeared in the May 1973 issue, shortly after the opening at the Art Gallery of Ontario of Ceramic Objects in April 1973. The Toronto exhibition brought together developments in ceramic sculpture from across Canada and featured the work of Cicansky, Fafard, Gilhooly, James and Levine, as well as seven other artists, including Gathie Falk and Robert Bozak. The exhibition traveled in June to the New York Cultural Centre, the same month that Trajectoires opened in Paris.

By the summer of 1973, Regina's ceramics scene was on the national radar. Furthermore, the major figures had been identified, even if this list would prove to be incomplete.[64] Reviews of the exhibitions had given a sense of the vitality of the movement and had alerted the wider public to this emerging group.[65] However, an elaboration of the theoretical basis for their production remained elusive. Heath's essay for the Trajectoires catalogue told readers what the group were not: funk, pop, neo-realist. Geoffrey James' review of Ceramic Objects for Time notes the influence of funk (he alludes to this term in his article's title, "Grand Funk"), but registers as well other attempts, none satisfactory, to label their work. He records Gilhooly's comment, "Some writers have suggested Nut Art [a reference to David Zack], which is equally obtuse," as well as Ann James' suggestion to call it "Eccentric Art." Geoffrey James' descriptions of the works themselves indicate a difficulty in coming to terms with their message. For example, Cicansky's outhouses are described as indulging "in a kind of outrageous novelty-store humor," a comment which is not far from Suzanne Pagé's categorization of the work as "piquant and rustic." Recognition had not resulted in understanding, something which would take the remainder of the decade to develop.

III. Worlds in the Making: 1973-79

By 1973, it was evident that a new sensibility had emerged in Regina that was unlike anything else in Canada. Here was a group of artists who had rejected the serious modernist enterprise of uncovering abstract, universal truths; but the question was how to characterize that sensibility beyond an obvious rejection of modernism, loose affinity for funk and serious commitment to sculptural uses of clay? Perhaps surprisingly, one of the most powerful narratives to emerge did not come from the usual art world sources, but from the media.

The 1973 National Film Board (NFB) documentary on Joe Fafard, I don't have to work that big, examined the artist's personal connection to Pense, the small town where he had lived since 1971 and where residents had become subjects for his sculpture. The film, directed by Michael McKennirey, was the first in a thirteen-week series, West, which first aired on CBC-TV on December 19, 1973. West, which was the successor to a popular series on Quebec, Adieu Allouette, represented yet another attempt by Canada's national broadcaster to reflect regional realities to other parts of Canada. According to associate producer Cynthia Scott, West looked at "the kind of people who in an earlier time would have pioneered the opening of the west as did many of their ancestors."[66] Interestingly, the makers of the film had commissioned a photographer to follow Fafard and his colleagues in Paris and document their encounter with Europe's great art centre (see figs. 17, 18, 29). However, the final cut of the film excluded any references to the exhibition, or for that matter, to any of Fafard's art world connections or influences. As a result of the NFB documentary and other portrayals of the Regina artists (especially Cicansky, Yuristy and Thauberger), many have viewed their work as a straightforward, nostalgic celebration of a rural utopia. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that the film succeeded where reviewers had failed in bringing to the fore the regional culture that is represented in Fafard's work.

Regionalism has long been identified as one of the defining characteristics of the Regina clay scene. However, the understanding of that term has undergone a number of articulations and revisions, particularly in relation to the work of Cicansky, Fafard, Thauberger and Yuristy. How did the regionalist discourse develop? The answer requires an examination of not only what the artists did, but also how their work was interpreted.

In one sense, the Regina ceramists were not the first regionalist movement to come from Regina. The Regina Five, though internationalist in outlook, were a regional art movement.[67] Both movements had origins in outside sources: New York modernism on the one hand, California funk on the other. Both groups received stimulus through workshops led by American artists. Saskatchewan's artists have always had to contend with the problem of isolation, and the impetus to look toward the United States was felt no less among the ceramists than it was among the painters of the Regina Five or their counterparts in Saskatoon. Beyond these similarities, the parallels begin to break down. First, in addition to workshop exposures, the ceramists had the added benefit of working alongside American artists, whether in California during their studies, or in Regina, where Gómez and Gilhooly taught and worked. Furthermore, West Coast artists shared with their Canadian counterparts a perceived marginalization from New York. Rather than function as emissaries from the centre, there was a sense that the Californians were fellow participants in a regional resistance. These two factors may account for the lack of a sense that California ideas were imposed.

Another decisive difference is the regional makeup of the Regina ceramists. Joe Fafard grew up on a farm near the small French-speaking community of Ste. Marthe, Saskatchewan; Russell Yuristy, on a farm near Goodeve in a predominantly Ukrainian district of east-central Saskatchewan; Cicansky in the east end of Regina, an area populated primarily by eastern European immigrants and referred to locally as the "garlic flats" or "Germantown;"[68] and David Thauberger, in the small farming community of Holdfast, Saskatchewan. Marilyn Levine, who was from Calgary, and Jack Sures from Melita, Manitoba, shared at the very least a common prairie upbringing. Aside from the Californians, Ann James from England, was the only major figure from outside the prairie provinces. By contrast, of the Regina Five, only Art McKay was from Saskatchewan; none was from a rural or immigrant background.[69] The regional make-up among the clay artists was the product of a unique conjunction of events: the phenomenal expansion of Canadian universities during the 1960s coupled with an influx of home-grown artists who returned to Saskatchewan with graduate degrees from the United States. As former Dunlop Art Gallery curator Wayne Morgan succinctly states, the combination of "a generation of artists and teachers not wanting to go away but instead staying home, plus Saskatchewan finally becoming a 'have' province, was a recipe for success."[70]

Birthplace alone is not enough to account for an interest in regionalism, especially when one considers the appreciation of local culture among the earlier Regina Five—Lochhead's early paintings of prairie scenes such as The Bonspiel (fig. 30) and Bloore's interest in the folk art of Jan Wyers are but two examples. However, among this earlier generation of artists, local manifestations of culture inevitably receive a modernist framing, which places it within a universalizing narrative of human achievement. This framing is at odds with the regionalist concern for the particularities of place, which the ceramists, by contrast, were quick to incorporate into their work. Funk's example may have been one factor that encouraged the ceramists' appreciation of region. Harold Paris's 1967 article on the California funk scene contains an illuminating summary of how funk relates to place: "The casual, irreverent, insincere California atmosphere, with its absurd elements—weather, clothes, 'skinny-dipping,' hobby craft, sun-drenched mentality, Doggie Diner, perfumed toilet tissue, do-it-yourself—all this drives the artist's vision inward. This is the Land of Funk."[71] However, when the Saskatchewan artists turned their "vision inward," it resulted not in funk iconoclasm, but in a fresh connection with their prairie roots.[72]

It is interesting to note that many of the same conditions were in place for an earlier regionalist movement in London, Ontario. Ross Woodman's 1967 artscanada article, "London: a new regionalism," lists at least five aspects of the London scene, led by Greg Curnoe, Jack Chambers, John Boyle and Murray Favro, to find direct parallels among the Regina ceramists: the definition of "regionalism" as a rejection of the New York school, the adaptation of international art movements in local terms (California funk serving a role parallel to New York pop in London), the catalyst of a nihilist figure (Gilhooly's activities corresponding to those of Curnoe in London), the importance of childhood perception, and the pattern of travel abroad followed by a return to native soil. With this list of similarities, one would have expected to find a well of sympathy and support in London for the developments in Regina. However, there is little evidence of any connection between the two cities.[73] In fact, Fafard recalls hearing that Curnoe regarded the Regina clay movement as yet another instance of Canadian reliance on American models, but with Gilhooly taking the place of Clement Greenberg.[74] While Curnoe's comments might have served as a starting point for an interesting, if heated, debate, there was a striking absence of critical discussion. Unlike the London regionalists, who had made their voices heard through publications such as 20 Cents or Region, and who had generated an exchange of ideas among writers, critics and curators, Regina clay in the early to mid-1970s remained a largely untheorized movement. Serious critical reception would not occur until the end of the decade, by which time the initial burst of energy that was associated with the movement had dissipated.

While the artists' engagement with region failed to connect on a critical level with the art world's emerging postmodern concern for place, it did strike a chord with the popular imagination at a moment when the back-to-the-land movement was at its zenith. Fafard, in particular, benefited from this association. His 1973 exhibition Joe Fafard's Pensées took much the same tack as I don't have to work that big, in that the catalogue and exhibition prominently featured black and white photographs which emphasized the artist's close connection to the people of Pense and the country life enjoyed by Fafard and his young family (see fig. 28). Subsequent representations of Fafard continued to play up this image, such as Suzanne Zwarun's "That Artist Fella" in Maclean's and Andrew Jonson's "The Down-to-Earth Art of Joe Fafard" in Reader's Digest. Like Fafard, Yuristy and Cicansky were themselves part of the back-to-the-land movement, seeking a more self-sufficient lifestyle in small towns, where living expenses were minimal and could be further reduced by growing much of their own produce. The popularity of their work benefited from the association of their work with a return to rural roots, a stereotype that was reinforced by the close identification of the medium of clay with a grassroots, natural lifestyle. Throughout the 1970s, clay continued to penetrate popular consciousness through events, such as the NMAG's annual handicraft sale, Bazaart, which began in 1973 and which prominently featured local potters, such as Jack Sures. The popularity of ceramics is further attested by the phenomenal growth in non-credit pottery classes through Extension, which saw its enrolment rise from 57 in 1969-70 to 314 in 1973-74.[75]

Embedded in many of the popular representations of the Regina ceramists is a renewed interest in community, an interest which the artists themselves shared. Fafard's class projects often involved communally produced sculptures, many of which stood for a time on the lawn of Regina College's Fine Arts Building.[76] A Gilhooly-inspired eight-foot Frog (fig. 32), a large reclining Cow, a cross-eyed six-foot bust of Norman MacKenzie, a binder-twine Sasquatch and a similarly constructed twelve-foot-high Woolly Mammoth offered a grassroots alternative to the type of public sculpture that was sanctioned by the principal's art committee, until conflicts with colleagues and university officials forced the removal of all but the Frog. The Woolly Mammoth eventually ended up on top of the Pense School, which also became the home of a Turtle that Fafard built collaboratively with the school's students.

Before long, other artists became involved with community projects. At Fafard's instigation, Yuristy applied to the Local Initiatives Program of the federal Department of Manpower and Immigration, with the idea of transforming his small ink drawings of stone boats and other fanciful structures into playground sculptures. In 1971-72, Yuristy's Creative Playground Workshop employed eight people to assist him in the creation of his first structures, including a Duck Boat (see cat. 136), a Giant Gopher and an Elephant. Over the course of the decade his playground sculptures ended up in a number of cities across Saskatchewan as well as in Churchill, Manitoba (Polar Bear), Spokane, Washington (Tooloose the Moose and Supercrow), and Ottawa, Ontario (Beaver)[77] and he became the subject of a NFB documentary, Giv'em a Half Turn (1979).

While Fafard's and Yuristy's work involved collaborative artwork for public spaces, David Thauberger's interest in Saskatchewan folk art engaged a sense of artistic community and communal memory. Thauberger's interest in folk art grew out of his work cataloguing the collection of the Saskatchewan Arts Board the year following his return to Saskatchewan from graduate studies in 1973.[78] Thauberger, who formed friendships with many of the artists, was attracted to the untutored work of the generation of pioneers who, in his opinion, were "doing work that spoke more from the heart" and who had "come to terms with their locale."[79] This was a feeling generally shared by Cicansky, Fafard and Yuristy, each of whom had some contact with folk artists. One tangible result of their interest was The Grain Bin project, which was commissioned by the Saskatchewan Olympics and the Arts Committee for presentation at the Cultural Olympics in Montreal in 1976. For this project, Cicansky, Fafard, Thauberger and Yuristy transformed a wooden grain bin in collaboration with six folk artists: Frank Cicansky (Victor's father), Eva Dennis, Ann Harbuz, Molly Lenhardt, W. C. McCargar, Fred Moulding and Linda Olafson. The paintings and sculptures by both professional and self-taught artists took their cue from the communal memories of folk artists and represented prairie farming in the 1920s. Reception for these communal and community-based efforts was for the most part favorable; however, instances of tension did arise in the case of Yuristy's playground structures because of their use of government money and unorthodox appearance.[80]

Recognition of the burgeoning developments in Regina occurred both locally and across Canada. A common approach among many of the national exhibitions, such as Fired Sculpture (Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 1974), Clay as Sculpture (Alberta College of Art Gallery, 1976), and Seven Ceramic Sculptors (Southern Alberta Art Gallery, 1977), was to highlight the emergence of sculptural as opposed to decorative or utilitarian directions in contemporary ceramics. This approach was somewhat different from that taken by the galleries in Regina, which had traditionally accepted a mix of pottery and ceramic sculpture. A case in point is the Marilyn Levine retrospective, held in 1974 at the NMAG, which featured Levine's early pottery as well as her abstract forms and more recent trompe-l'oeil leather works. The issue for artists in relation to the NMAG was less how they were interpreted or who they were shown with than that they were shown at all (other than in the university-programmed space). This became clear when the NMAG planned an exhibition to chart the historical development of ceramics in Regina. A halt was put to the proposed ten-person show when four of the artists, Fafard, Cicansky, James and Yuristy, boycotted the exhibition because of the "token" representation of their work. Fafard was quoted by one reporter as saying, "It would be interesting to have a retrospective show after 20 or 30 years, but I see no point in it at this time when we've hardly been represented by the Norman Mackenzie."[81] Although Dillow agreed with some of the criticism, she pleaded low public interest in local art and the lack of even "five cents" for its presentation. Dillow's justification enraged the artists, who pointed out the enormous public attention which Fafard's exhibition at the Dunlop Art Gallery had garnered, and provoked them to counter by offering $1,000 to augment the gallery's exhibition funds.[82] Dorothy Cameron, former Toronto gallery dealer and wife of Ronald Bloore, joined the public fray by openly criticizing the NMAG for failing to support the ceramic artists, a failure which she says was at least partially responsible for the departures of Levine and Gilhooly: "I think the whole school of ceramic art here died before it really had a chance to give birth because if the place where you live doesn't care enough about your art to show it then what other galleries will?"[83] In an attempt to make some amends, Dillow organized New Clay in Regina, which featured fourteen ceramists, both potters and sculptors, who had not received significant attention, including Hone, Keelan and Thauberger.

The Dunlop Art Gallery, by contrast, had consistently maintained a more open stance toward ceramics, having show the work of Cicansky, Gómez, Hone, James, Levine, Malach and others throughout the 1960s. Ceramic sculpture was, however, seldom shown in isolation; it was usually presented with a mix of pottery or other media. Gilhooly's Frog Tut exhibition, organized by Wayne Morgan, was one of the first shows to present ceramic sculpture exclusively. The first major attempt to register a sense of the collective ceramic activity in Regina, Regina Ceramics Now in 1972-73, was an eclectic mix of studio pottery by Mel Bolen, Beth Hone and Patricia Wiens, set side by side with funk sculpture by Cicansky, Fafard, Levine and James. Whether at the NMAG or the Dunlop, ceramics exhibitions of the 1960s and the first half of the 1970s often grew out of a response to the material possibilities of clay rather than an exploration of the artists' thematic concerns.

Within the university, the teaching of ceramics continued to be interdisciplinary, though with an increasing number of students who took up sculpture. Before leaving, Levine and Fafard attracted many promising students, including Lorne Beug and Margaret Keelan. Beug, who had been studying psychology and anthropology, took classes with Fafard and Levine in 1972-73. Levine showed slides of Gilhooly and the California school, an experience which Beug identifies as "my first exposure to a coherent style in the midst of happenings."[84] Beug left the university the following year, joining the growing numbers of artists who were moving to the country. His subsequent ceramic work, which he created over the next decade, resembles Gilhooly's in its incorporation of anthropological thinking, though with a greater emphasis on geological and evolutionary processes rather than mythmaking. Even after moving to Vancouver in 1978, Beug remembers being "identified with Regina clay artists more than I wanted to be or realized" and encountering a stereotype: "Oh, you're from Regina, you must be doing funky stuff."

Margaret Keelan was attracted to Regina from Saskatoon, where she had studied with James Thornsbury, who taught ceramics at the University of Saskatchewan. Although Thornsbury had introduced the work of the Californians Arneson and Ken Price, she was amazed to discover subsequently the work of Gilhooly, Sures and Fafard, and she was "annoyed that I didn't realize earlier" what was going on so close to home.[85] After enrolling in classes at the University of Regina in 1973-74, she remembers "trying to get some image that would become my canvas," an approach encouraged by Fafard. Her choice of a chicken came out of a competition with fellow student and lab technician Ruth Welsh, who had chosen the pig as her subject. However, it was not Fafard, but Levine who was Keelan's greatest encouragement, not so much because of her work, but because she served as a female role model. Keelan had met Levine at a workshop in Saskatoon where she expressed an appreciation for Keelan's work. Levine eventually wrote in support of Keelan's application for a Canada Council grant to attend graduate school at the University of Utah where Levine was teaching. A number of other talented students passed through the department around this time, including students who were attracted to the fledgling M.F.A. program, the first in visual art in Canada,[86] although the department's decision not to allow Fafard to supervise candidates was a source of disappointment to some.[87]

Ironically, it was an exhibition on the other side of the continent that offered one of the first analyses of Regina clay in regionalist terms. Bruce Ferguson's statement for the exhibition Messages from Southern Saskatchewan, which brought the work of Cicansky, Fafard, Thauberger and Yuristy to Dalhousie Art Gallery in 1976, noted that the artists had moved beyond California funk to "come to terms with the life of the artist in a rural and parochial culture by reinterpreting that culture's content and value with humour and irony and, occasionally, pathos."[88] The exhibition included ceramics by all four artists, but featured as well paintings by Thauberger and drawings by Yuristy. In a sense, the exhibition registered an ending as much as a recognition. By 1976, Yuristy and Thauberger had abandoned ceramics as a medium: Thauberger for painting, and Yuristy for playground sculptures, printmaking and painting. Ann James, who had shown with the four on many occasions, had closed the Hone-James Studio (which since 1973 had been run by James alone) and was moving back to England. Dorothy Cameron's dire prediction about the death of the "school of ceramic art" in Regina, though perhaps premature in 1974, had been largely fulfilled by 1976.

Even as the clay movement was dispersing, local recognition was occurring at a formal level on several fronts. In 1977 a competition was held for the decoration of the Sturdy-Stone Centre in Saskatoon The building was intended to unite under one roof several provincial government services as well as retail shops. The choice of all ceramic decoration by Saskatchewan artists is one of the strongest statements about the identification of clay with a particular region. The winning proposals, which were selected from a list drawn up by Jim Ellemers of the Saskatchewan Arts Board, included Bob Billyard, Victor Cicansky, Lorraine Malach, Jack Sures, and a joint proposal by Greg Hardy and Randy Woolsey. A second competition held in 1980 resulted in additional murals by Cicansky and Malach. In retrospect, the Sturdy-Stone murals recapitulate the achievement of the ceramics community in Regina and the modern-postmodern shift that had occurred. Sures' outdoor mural, which features radiating circles of tiles that resemble an abstracted sun or flower, speaks of the transformation of ceramics from craft to fine art (fig. 33). Cicansky's vignettes of The Old Working Class (fig. 34) and The New Working Class point to the birth of regionalism and a concern for local histories. Lorraine Malach's abstract organic forms and choreographed soccer players signal the importance of women's voices in ceramics (fig. 35).

Meanwhile, in Regina, Joe Fafard produced a portrait of Tommy Douglas for the lobby of the T. C. Douglas Building, which was built in 1979 to house the provincial Department of Health. The private sector joined the trend when The Co-operators commissioned Cicansky to produce a mural Regina: My World in 1979 (fig. 15). At the same time, the ceramists who had maintained ties to Regina found a commercial outlet with the formation of the Susan Whitney Gallery in 1979, which took over from the Kesik Gallery, a co-operative gallery which had started up earlier in the decade. Museum recognition occurred at the NMAG in 1980 with the exhibition The Continental Clay Connection, which examined the ceramic exchanges between Saskatchewan and California, and the concurrent Dunlop Art Gallery exhibition California Connections. For an elusive moment, clay had won the right to represent a world in business and government, while receiving acknowledgment in both the commercial and public gallery worlds.

IV. Worlds in Writing: 1979-88

The end of the decade also marked the beginnings at last of a comprehensive regionalist framing for the Regina ceramists. The stunning gap between production and theorization is one of the most arresting features of the Regina clay movement and begs the question: why did it take so long to occur?[89] The lack of a critic with an interest in theorization is perhaps one answer. While there were writers who championed the movement and brought it to national attention, they did not provide a full critical framing. One writer who had the potential to perform this task was David Zack. According to Fafard, Zack encouraged a kind of "zaniness" and experimentation which was liberating,[90] but, in the long term, he proved too eccentric and focused on his own quixotic pursuits; as Cicansky observes, "he did not document and analyze . . . he wanted to co-opt us all into his mission."[91] Zack's quick exit from the department further limited his effect. Clyde McConnell, an art professor at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, provided another early critical voice. Along with Richard Spafford, he had formed the dadaist inspired Lady Bessborough Press, which published Joe Fafard's "Stud." However, his attention to the Regina ceramists was limited to reviews in 1970-71.[92]

Beyond the lack of a critical voice to speak on behalf of the movement, there was an underlying resistance to theory on the part of the artists. In his story "Stud," Fafard expresses his suspicion of "the wordmen" like Greenberg.[93] For Cicansky, there was a belief in the validity of different kinds of intelligence other than academic.[94] Thus the development of Regina clay takes place largely in the absence of aesthetic or political rationales to support the intuitions expressed in their sculpture.

As it turned out, literary criticism eventually led the way, a pattern which has been repeated in the visual arts throughout the postmodern era. This is not surprising, given a much lengthier engagement with region in writing, ranging from the novels of W. O. Mitchell, Sinclair Ross, Rudy Wiebe and Margaret Laurence, to the critical reflections of Wallace Stegner's Wolf Willow (1962) and Laurence Ricou's Vertical Man/Horizontal World (1973). However, by the end of the 1970s, the debates had shifted from discussions of how landscape shapes consciousness to a more sophisticated consideration of the constructed nature of identity. Estevan-born poet and critic, Eli Mandel, who was writer-in-residence at the Regina Public Library in 1978-79, offers one of the first attempts to apply this type of criticism to the visual arts in his poetic commentary on the work of four artists, which appears in his artscanada article "A Comprehensible World: The Work of Cicansky, Thauberger, Yuristy and Fafard."[95] Mandel had previously defined regionalism as it related to prairie literature, arguing that the prairies were to be understood first and foremost as a "mental construct, a region of the mind, a myth," rather than as a landscape or geography. Essential to this interior definition of region is "the child's vision . . . of home; and that surely is the essence of what we mean by a region; the overpowering feeling of nostalgia associated with the place we know as the first place, the first vision of things, the first clarity of things."[96] In the article "A Comprehensible World," Mandel's observations are interspersed with the artist's own comments on their relationship to Saskatchewan folk artists, reinforcing the connection of memory to nostalgia in the construction of place. The title of this article is based on his reading of the French structuralist Claude Lévi-Strauss: "all works of art, as he [Lévi-Strauss] observes in The Savage Mind, are models or miniatures because in their reductive power they provide the lucidity and wholeness, the claritas and unitas, of a comprehensible world." Mandel uses this reference, combined with the idea of the "model" as developed in the writing of Jorge Luis Borges, to explain the effect of Fafard's work, its ability to convey a sense of a whole world in its texture and structure.[97] But this sense of world is not based on a simple reflection of geography or local colour. In Fafard's bulls, Mandel sees a "mythic being" and he goes on to speculate that "the return of place to its history and myth may well be Fafard's major achievement in affording ceramic art a position from which to advance and develop, far more serious than any ironies of play with style, 'funk,' and joke suggest." Mandel's comments on Cicansky further illuminate the reason for the return to history and myth: "Why reinvent the past? Because it is fiction, its illusion absorbs reality in ways more profound than we can otherwise articulate, sufficiently to serve as a genuine redefinition of self. Not in 'funk.' Not in 'style.' But illusion without question."[98] Mandel's regionalism is defined as a reinvention of the past in the service of a redefinition of the self that transcends style and represents the triumph of personal content over form. History is embraced, but only as it relates to region; the history of style, in this case "funk," is dismissed as inadequate to the task of defining authentic selfhood.

This internal poetic version of regionalism may be contrasted to the thesis that is developed by critic Bruce Ferguson in his catalogue essay for the 1983 survey exhibition Victor Cicansky: Clay Sculpture. Ferguson identifies prairie forms of regionalism, particularly those from Saskatchewan, with socio-political realities. In a veiled criticism of Mandel's position, he states: "With Cicansky . . . the rural is more than a region of the mind, an unmanageable myth; it is a region of a class—the rural class."[99] This class, according to Ferguson, gave rise to prairie socialism, "a radical regional response to hard physical conditions of production in relation to centralized economic policies of urban priorities."[100] Importantly, rather than identifying the region that is depicted in the work on the strength of the artist's biography, Ferguson attempts an objective assessment. On the basis of certain cultural markers which Ferguson reads in the work—"low population density, limited technology, partial economic self-sufficiency, small markets, and importantly, a sense of place which is defined by community, lives rather than lifestyles"—he allows that it is generically midwestern, belonging as much to the United States as to Canada.[101] On the other hand, Ferguson notes a critical difference in the treatment of this predominantly agricultural region. Turning to literary theory to establish his point, Ferguson notes that Cicansky's work emphasizes experience in all its gritty imperfections and thus is more typical of Canadian tropes of survival as described by Margaret Atwood than the American pastoral ideal as articulated by critics such as Leo Marx. Cicansky's work redefines identity, but in this Ferguson sees a political possibility, a site of resistance to an "urban culture which has abandoned and disdains interest in anything small."[102]

Thus by the mid-1980s, two versions of regionalism had emerged: Mandel's inward looking version, which defines regionalism as nostalgia in the service of a redefined sense of self; and Ferguson's socially oriented version, which characterizes regionalism as a critical resistance to urban culture. In both cases, however, the works are described as though they speak with a single voice, rather than through multiple layers of cultural reference. It would be the end of the decade before a discussion of this aspect of the ceramists' work would emerge.

Mandel's later writing, in which he significantly reworks his earlier approach to the subject, serves as a touchstone for a more nuanced approach to regionalism, specifically Peter White's analysis of Joe Fafard's cows in the 1987 exhibition catalogue Joe Fafard: Cows and Other Luminaries 1977-1987. However, it is not until the following year, in White's essay for the 1988 exhibition catalogue David Thauberger: Paintings 1978-1988 that Mandel's revised concept of regionalism is fully explored. Although the essay deals primarily with Thauberger's paintings, rather than his early ceramic sculptures, it is nonetheless illuminating and offers insights that may well be applied to the earlier ceramic sculpture as well as to the work of other artists.

In this essay, White takes into account Mandel's thought as represented by two essays, "Academic and Popular" from 1978 and "Strange Loops" from 1981, in which the poet moves beyond his original definition of regionalism as a nostalgic reconstruction of mythic origins rooted in childhood memory. First, White looks at Mandel's idea that "classroom reality has become popular," finding in it an articulation of what is essentially the collapse of "high-low / academic-popular hierarchies." Mandel's formulation describes the encroachment of popular culture and its demand for relevance in arenas, such as education, that were once home to elitist cultural values-values which, in Mandel's terms, have become "shoddy." Mandel concludes with a call for a new sensibility that accepts "living with chaos, refusing to impose false orders, false structures, perhaps any pre-conceived structure."[103] For White, this is an important statement about the shift in values which enabled artists such as Thauberger to engage with popular culture in ways that go beyond "the ironic distance or the often barely repressed fetishism of high art looking to, valorizing, or simply inhabiting the forms of popular expression."[104]

White goes on to examine Mandel's argument in the essay "Strange Loops," where the poet makes it clear that the loss of authority of modernist value structures has a political dimension:

In a post-national environment, culture aligns itself with local and regional interests. And, while the familiar tensions between region and metropolitan centre, between local and national values, are sustained, these frictions are subsumed within a larger, global environment of which the contemporary region is a part and with which it interacts in the process of defining itself.[105]

In this passage we have a description of the situation that is more in line with Ferguson's analysis. But for Mandel, socio-political interests are secondary to the real struggle, which for an artist is to enact a "'destructive poetics' which seek to demystify tradition" and which "involves the substitution of process, discontinuity, the poetry of flux and phenomena and the substitution of self-reflexive forms of strange loops or paradoxes of self, for the timeless structures of the work of art outside of time."[106] Mandel finds a potent realization of this "destructive poetics" in the regionalism of writers such as Robert Kroetsch, Rudy Wiebe and Jack Hodgins. White, in reflecting on a poem which appeared in the article "A Comprehensible World," would add Mandel's name to this list. Mandel's poem "'Grandfather's Painting': David Thauberger" correlates the artist's iconic painting of his grandfather's work horse (fig. 36) with the movie Marathon Man, which the poet watches on a TV set beneath the painting. For White, the poem is significant for a discussion of regionalism because:

its almost bitter edge and lack of sentimentality within a sentimental structure of memory, reflection, confession and autobiography is a tonic to the reassuring nostalgia commonly associated with place. Moreover, place is not isolated. Indeed it is thoroughly integrated into a comprehensive structure. . . . Most emphatically, these pictures, representations through which the world is experienced and understood, are popular images.[107]

As White convincingly argues, Mandel's criticism and poetry offer a way of understanding regionalism that goes beyond nostalgia or geography by relating the experience of place to the wider transformations of society by technology and popular culture. While there is perhaps a confusion between the descriptive and the prescriptive in Mandel's analysis (is the alignment of culture with the local and regional a natural result modernism's demise or vice versa?) the major terms of the debate are clearly delineated.

In Nancy Tousley's article for the Thauberger catalogue, she gives a demonstration of how an understanding of place that comprehends both local experience and popular expression are realized in an aesthetic of a "double-perspective" or "double vision." According to Tousley:

Thauberger's awareness is not just regional; it is cosmopolitan and regional at the same time. He focuses not on geography, but the sensibility of a place and the attitudes that connect it to a larger world. His unique painter's voice speaks in a visual patois that combines the accents and inflections of vernacular and popular culture with the syntax of modernism.[108]

In representing place in his work, Thauberger incorporates "childhood memories, his knowledge of art, his love of popular culture and his regard for the attitudes, gestures and values of the local community itself."[109] In explaining how Thauberger arrived at this synthesis, she turns to the artist's relationship to folk art, a question which Mandel had raised a decade earlier. She argues that Thauberger found in folk art a model of how to internalize sources in popular culture in a mode other than detached pop irony. Tousley had addressed this question a year earlier in "Prairie Vernacular" for Canadian Art:

Like the Chicago Imagists, Cicansky, Fafard and Thauberger had no desire to imitate folk art. Like the Imagists, they were reacting against a modernist aesthetic orthodoxy. Unlike the Imagists, they have mirrored an actual integrated social community in their art by blending shared experience, individual innovation and artistic synthesis. . . . Theirs is an art immersed in a place and in the people with whom they share a distinctive climate, geography and culture.[110]

This assessment mirrors the artists' own statements in "A Comprehensible World," in which they admire the folk artist's freedom from the noxious influence of "contemporary art dogma" and "art school mystiques," and they champion an attitude of working "from the heart." The artists feel an empathy no doubt arising from their own negative experiences in academia and efforts to resist the pressure to conform to an externally imposed look or style. Folk artists, then, offer an affirmation of their academically trained counterparts' attempts to recover history, region and personal experience.

The attempts to explain Thauberger's paintings are instructive because they point to the complexities that surround discussions of regionalism. In his painting, Thauberger incorporates the visual language of popular culture as a means of mediating the three terms of high art, popular culture and regional identity. Each term on its own represents a dead end. High art in the form of modernism is elitist; popular culture in the forms that are transmitted by mass media is empty; and regional identity based on memory is often no more than nostalgia. At the same time, each term has a necessary component: high art offers self-criticality and distancing devices that prevent objects from becoming easy objects of consumption; popular culture provides contemporary context and wider cultural relevance; and regionalism ensures a coherence of identity. While the foregoing schema reduces to a static formula what in practice involved a dynamic interplay of forces, it is helpful in guarding against the tendency to identify the truth with any one term. Furthermore, it helps us to recognize the perspectival complexity that began to emerge in the individual sculptors' work in the early 1970s.

V. Worlds in Perspective

One useful way to summarize the debates surrounding regionalism is to see them as an extended critical reflection on the different meanings of nostalgia. Svetlana Boym in her book The Future of Nostalgia distinguishes between two types of nostalgia: restorative and reflective.[111] Restorative nostalgia is essentially conservative and involves a regressive desire to "protect the absolute truth" connected with an idealized vision of a lost nostos or home.[112] Reflective nostalgia, by contrast, is more critical and is rooted in the algia, or pain, connected with dislocation. According to Boym, reflective nostalgia "dwells on the ambivalences of human longing and belonging and does not shy away from the contradictions of modernity."[113]

The rustic longings for a rural utopia that were evoked by the NFB documentaries on Fafard and Yuristy and which were reinforced by Mandel's early writing about regionalism, easily fall into the category of reflective nostalgia. This reading has been persistently repeated in various forms: for example, Teitelbaum's essay on the relationship between the Regina Five and the Regina ceramists emphasizes the ceramists' connection to folk art and "the desire to underline experienced social coherence."[114] Not surprisingly, the works of individual ceramists have at times been criticized because of this association. Maija Bismanis, in her essay on Joe Fafard for The Continental Clay Connection critiques his portraiture, which she thinks "reflects that which has been made precious and decorative through memory."[115] By contrast, the writings of Ferguson, White and Tousley, as well as the later writings of Mandel, have made a lively case for the capacity of the artists and the potential of the artworks to speak to the dislocations between past and present, between memory and modernity. In particular, Tousley's concept of "double vision" seems an apt description of the strategy employed by the artists in the service of what may be identified as a reflective nostalgia. Indeed, looking back at the development of Regina clay, it is fascinating to watch how the artists develop various formal and iconographic strategies which encode a double perspective as a means of addressing cultural dislocations that affect prairie regional culture.

David Gilhooly's work has not typically been analyzed in relation to regionalism or to the problems of cultural dislocation; however, it is worth at least noting the formative influence of his childhood move from California to Puerto Rico. It was on this Caribbean island that Gilhooly first developed an interest in culture, which manifested itself in the long hours of a youth spent looking for artifacts. This experience would influence his decision years later to major in anthropology at UC Davis. Whether because of a lingering sense of dislocation, or for some other reason, there is never a stable sense of place in Gilhooly's work, but rather a constantly mutating curiosity about human cultures coupled with the artist-mythmaker's desire to anthropomorphize nature. These two drives come together definitively in his "Frog World."

Formally, Gilhooly's major discovery came through another cross-cultural encounter, this time with the Chinese Tang Dynasty Hilltop jars of the Avery Brundage collection, which he saw in 1966 in San Francisco. Gilhooly relates how, by placing small tableaux on top of their vessels, the Chinese artists solved an aesthetic problem for him: "the 'scene' would be lifted off the table and then controlled by the edges of the pot's rim much like the edges of a canvas control a painting. Getting the piece off the table top prevents a tableau from appearing like a broken off piece of a whole."[116] Gilhooly arrived at a similar solution for the hero busts which he began to make in Regina, including his Frog Victoria series. Gilhooly describes how his solution, which involved placing the figure on a thrown cylinder, means "you're worshipping him and, at the same time, controlling him by cutting him off at the chest and mounting him on a base. . . . After you have that . . . you are free to build on the limits of your imagination."[117] Through his approach to framing, Gilhooly mediates the conflicts between place and placelessness and creates coherent ceramic worlds.

The accessibility of Gilhooly's work is deceptive, concealing the complexity of his practice. Attempts have been made to characterize his work as social satire or personal mythmaking.[118] However, his work does not fit neatly into either category. The constant return to real historical events points to a satirical impulse, whereas the borrowing of myths and the spinning of alternative world histories gives the "Frog World" a depth and resonance that goes beyond parody. This hybrid strategy has the effect of relativizing his sources—movies, myth, politics and art are all treated equally—while renewing the role of narrative in art. Myths are treated historically, history is treated mythically, echoing the dual cultural trends of a demythologizing science and a remythologizing entertainment industry. The same hybridity that produced the genre of science fiction is at work in Gilhooly's "Frog World." Formally, there is an echo of this high-low duality in the marriage of kitsch ceramics and the fine art tradition of sculpture.

How Gilhooly's work connects with that of the Saskatchewan artists, especially Joe Fafard, is a question which has not been fully explored. While the immediate impact of Gilhooly's example has been noted on many occasions, on a deeper level, there remains something to be said about the importance of Gilhooly's relativizing approach to history and myth, an approach which makes a virtue out of the tendency of anthropology to superimpose cultural biases. The great appeal of the "Frog World" was the recognition that it was a deceptive double: an alternate reality that sometimes matches but sometimes slides away from our own world. Interpreting the regional narratives of Fafard, Cicansky, Thauberger and Yuristy involves a process much like that needed to decipher the "Frog World" in that the prairie region cannot be fully comprehended from the outside, but must be understood with reference to its internal set of values and hierarchies.

Gilhooly raises the question of history and its uses, but it is the Regina artists who provide a response. For Fafard, the answer begins with his portraits of Michael Haynee and his recently deceased father. In creating these memorial portraits and subsequent work, Fafard had in mind precedents in votive sculpture from Egypt and ritual sculpture from Benin, cultures for which sculpture serves as a stand-in for the dead.[119] That Fafard was thinking in this direction is evident in his retelling of a dream, in which he is approached by a screaming priest. Fafard shrinks the priest with his stare and then crushes him with his hand, only to find him transformed into a dead yellow bird. Reflecting on this dream, which he views as a metaphor for his artistic method, Fafard notes: "I think if I had picked up the screaming little priest and stroked his bald head I would have transformed him into a living yellow bird rather than a crushed dead one."[120] The message of the dream is clear: by showing compassion through portraiture, Fafard discovers the possibility of bringing the dead back to life. In his Pense portraits, Fafard restores life, not only to the dead, but to a world that is disappearing-the rural town, which in itself represents a restoration of the rural life that Fafard experienced as a child. However, this recreation of a lost home moves beyond restorative nostalgia when Fafard begins to expand the frame of reference past the comfortable borders of the small town and family. In a series of cups made in 1972-73, Fafard brings the pastoral world of his childhood into contact with the forces of history (e.g. Armistice Day Cup, cat. 33). Furthermore, references to commercial pottery in these works (e.g. Stag Cup, cat. 35) put them in a three-way dialogue with personal history, popular culture and fine art. By the end of the 1970s, Fafard expanded his range of subjects to include images of politicians, Métis and First Nations leaders, artists and writers: the agents, victims and recorders of cultural dislocation and transformation.

Fafard's work is no less complex on a formal level. The slight enlargement of the hands, head and feet (a feature more pronounced in his earlier work) gives his portraits a presence which expands beyond the confines of their diminutive bodies, thus preventing them from becoming "mere figurines" (see fig. 37). Furthermore, the head and hands, the areas of the body that are traditionally associated with identity, are rendered in greater detail than the body, which holds information about the social standing of the individual through clothing and posture, thus creating a tension between personality and persona. There are further tensions created by Fafard's decision to let cracks in the clay remain visible. The cracks are a record of process and an index of objecthood that ultimately serve as reminders of the sculpture's physical as opposed to imaginative presence. The markers of algia or dislocation are subtle in Fafard's work—the shifts in scale, the interplay of personality and persona and the indices of objecthood are often overlooked—but they play an important role in keeping his work from falling into reparative nostalgia.

The work of other artists, notably Victor Cicansky, are more easily addressed as examples of reflective nostalgia. In the years following his return to Regina, Cicansky fused images from childhood memory, such as the outhouses of Regina's "garlic flats," with art world references, such as Greek temples, resulting in a riotous marriage of high and low culture. In these works, life-sized rocks, plastic flowers, and ceramic decals are set within a miniature world, creating a shift of scales that is similar to but more jarring than in Fafard's work. In many cases, the spaces are opened up, cutaway and exposed to the viewer, who is in turn drawn inside. High and low, big and little, inside and outside—doubleness is coded on a number of levels in the works, speaking of an experience of place that is engaged with local realities, but always with an awareness of larger frames of reference. The incongruence of those different frameworks results in a wry prairie humour which is uniquely Cicansky's. While seen today as a tribute to a disappearing type, the immigrant survivor, the initial reaction to the sculptures was anything but nostalgic. Roger Lee, a university art historian at the time, recalls that many were unsure whether the sculptures were a friendly joke or an unsympathetic jab at Regina.[121]

However, Cicansky's role as a sympathetic observer becomes apparent in his series of Volkswagen buses, in which the image of the driver in the window is often a self-portrait. The buses are Cicansky's metaphorical means of entering the rural scene (see cat. 13). At the same time, they symbolize the cultural distance between the back-to-the-land generation, with its contradictory ideals of mobility and self-sufficiency, and the rooted and self-sufficient generation which preceded them. Cicansky plays with these questions of identity in later works, including The Urbane Drain (cat. 20), which makes ironic reference to his own decision to leave the city to live in a small town. The rural ideal is, however, never presented in nostalgic terms. His garden imagery, which finds its culmination in a series of pantries, has the insistent quality of pop art; his shelves of polychrome quart sealers are every bit as assertive as a row of Campbell's Soup cans. As Bruce Ferguson has perceptively argued, these images must be understood as a reassertion of the value of small-scale rural production in the face of the urban model of corporate and industrial production. As Ferguson concludes, "in another country, this might be a seemingly romantic stance; in a country such as Canada, [the rural] presence and understanding is essential."[122] If there is a romantic element to Cicansky's work, it is a nostalgia for manual labour as evidenced by the murals for the Sturdy-Stone Centre, The Old Working Class and The New Working Class. Significantly, Cicansky turns to the tondo format in the latter series of murals, a reference to the ceramic low relief works of Luca della Robbia. In returning to a Renaissance model, Cicansky recalls the moment when artists began to assert their position as intellectuals rather than artisans. Properly viewed, Cicansky's work is a corrective to this bifurcated notion of the artist—and of labour in general—by reasserting the importance of thinking with the hands as much as the head.

Russell Yuristy's involvement with ceramics was much shorter than that of his friends, Cicansky, Fafard or Gilhooly. Spanning a five-year period from 1972 to 1976, his work in clay serves, in a way, as a bridge between his better known bodies of work, the ink drawings of the early 1970s and the playground structures that grew out of them. Works, such as his Blue Boat (cat. 126) and his Ram Wagon (cat. 127), bear an obvious relationship to his drawings of hybrid building-vehicles captained by small animals. Like Cicansky's buses, these works manifest an underlying desire for shelter and stability on the one hand and the need for free movement on the other. In Yuristy's subsequent ceramic sculptures, such as Horse and Open Cutter (a portrait based on an old photograph) (cat. 132) and Boys on Christoph's Truck (cat. 130), the focus on modes of transportation points again to tensions between a rooted identity and a restless mobility. Yuristy brings his work into the present with a series of oversized beer bottles featuring brands common to the prairies. The labels of these beer bottles are rendered in low relief, thereby drawing attention to their regionally based iconography. Old Style Pilsner Beer (cat. 134), for example, offers a panoramic vista of the opening of the West, including the first encounter between First Nations and Europeans, the building of the railway, the arrival of settlers, and the brewing of the first batch of beer. The nostalgia of Yuristy's wagons and trucks is implicitly critiqued in his beer bottles, which show how quickly settler narratives can be commodified.

David Thauberger's ceramics went through a number of distinct phases related to his encounters with various environments. His early fascination with prehistoric animals and his use of the casserole form owe an obvious debt to Gilhooly. With his food pieces, such as Turkeyscape (cat. 114), which is dressed with local ethnic specialties, such as perogies, he begins to move into the realm of popular culture and its local manifestations. During his time in graduate school, first in Sacramento and later in Missoula, Thauberger developed an interest in outlaw biker culture, in part through his exposure to the Chicago Imagists, including Edward Paschke. Works, such as Evil Kneevil Jumps Snake River Canyon (cat. 116) and Off the Wall (cat. 117) delve into this material using the trophy as a means of presentation (in fact, a reference to Fafard's cups). However, it was not until he started to look at the work of folk artists that he began to realize that rural life on the prairies was no less exotic than the subcultures of large urban centres. This recognition is first registered in images of Regina, such as A Volkswagen Piece (cat. 119), which incorporates commercially produced ceramic steins and collaged newspaper ads, into a model of the local Volkswagen dealership (coincidentally, once owned by Ann James' husband). However, it is when Thauberger turns his eye to the small towns of his childhood that he begins to develop the "double vision" which Tousley recognizes in his later work. His sculptures of false-front theatres and hotels encode in their very structure cosmopolitan desires (false fronts and glittering marquees) and prosaic rural realities (barn-like construction and the graffiti of bored teenagers). Thauberger's work neatly fits the category of reflective nostalgia with its simultaneous longing for rural community and the acknowledgment of its inadequacies within the modern structures of travel and entertainment.

VI. Worlds Without End

The Regina ceramists, especially Fafard, Cicansky, Yuristy and Thauberger, define a double sense of place that resulted from the successive experiences of growing up with rural and immigrant roots, leaving Saskatchewan to complete graduate work in the United States, and finally returning to reengage with the cultural milieu of their upbringing. In their work, place is intimately linked to a history rooted in memory, but that history is expressed neither as the modernist triumph of progress (the erasure of local memory) nor as a nostalgic retreat into an idealized past (the refusal of modernity), but as a complex accommodation between the two poles.

However, not all the artists shared the regionalist concern with history and geography, and even among those who did, the commitment to regionalism is not doctrinaire. Looking back, Fafard's assessment of the importance of regionalism is measured: "It was not better than anything else, it was just there, a reality that exists everywhere."[123] For the other artists involved with clay, there were varying levels of commitment to geographical realities. However, as David Howard points out in his essay for this catalogue, the regionalism that is found in Regina can be understood as having two expressions, one general and one specific. The specific expression grows out of a response to geography; the general expression involves "a more individual and particular approach to representation" in reaction to the standards that are imposed by a universalizing modernism.[124] According to Howard, the general definition encompasses "even those disavowing any particular loyalty to a specific geographic region but affirming the role of the subjective artist within the environment of late capitalism." This distinction is important to keep in mind in assessing the contributions of those artists who at times have been overlooked because of their lack of relation to the specifically regionalist discourse.

Lorne Beug's engagement with region is geological and anthropological in character rather than cultural. Yet his work relates to the discoveries of the others in its use of small scale to create worlds that are personally engaging, even as they refer to the larger structures by which we understand the world. Beug's early ventures into clay saw the creation of a mythical world that is dominated by two competing species, the ants and the bees. These narrative works reflect a contemporary concern about the threats of technology to the world. With his house works of 1976, Beug moves from narratives about environmental concerns to a consideration of natural history as a structure in itself. Pile O'Bones House (cat. 4) makes reference to the original name of Regina and its association with the piles of bones which were assembled during the destruction of the plains bison herds. The bones become the house itself, fusing symbol and structure. In Architectonica Perspectiva (cat. 2) the various sign systems, by which scientists and philosophers have ordered the world, whether through language, botanical illustration, or mechanical diagram, take physical form. In these and other works, Beug takes the orders of scientific knowledge and makes them inhabitable: mental structures that are used to describe the physical world are reconstituted as physical structures that can be imaginatively occupied.

The two individuals who are responsible for the setting up of a ceramics program in Regina, Gómez and Sures, are even further removed from geographical regionalism. Gómez's position as a formalist is made clear in a statement for an exhibition that looks at ceramic sculpture of the 1970s in Western Canada. In commenting on Beug and Cicansky's work, Gómez observes, "They are concerned mainly with the literal, accessible, story-telling direction so much a part of the Pop-conscious early 60s efforts of clay artists in the western United States. This is not to say their work is poor in quality or less than sculpture. It is, simply, other than sculpture."[125] Sures was less resistant to narrative and he began in the 1970s to show an interest in place through tiles and plaques depicting a mythic garden. The gardens are typically filled with creatures which exhibit rivalry and lust on the one hand or idyllic love and harmony on the other. Sures, who had grown up in the small town of Melita, Manitoba, shared with Fafard, Cicansky, Yuristy and Thauberger a rural upbringing. However, his identity as the son of Russian Jewish immigrants may have resulted in a some sense of separation from the rest of the community; a move to Winnipeg at age twelve distanced him from the rural environment. Travel in Europe was important to Sures and he gravitated to European surrealism and the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch. These sources inflect his depictions of place, but the lush exoticism of his scenes may also be partly in reaction to the harsh prairie environment. One of the few works to make a specific reference to place, Near Al's Place (cat. 111), alludes to the decision by Saskatchewan premier Allan Blakeney to nationalize the province's potash industry in the 1970s. However, the work's composition, which is in the tradition of images of a "peaceable kingdom," pushes the political aspects of the scene to the background.

The women ceramists also appear to have little to do with the regionalist aesthetic that is connected with place. What may be observed is a common involvement with the body, which points to the possibility of viewing their work in terms of feminist discourses. (This tantalizing possibility is left for exploration by Julia Krueger in her essay for this catalogue.) The fact that Levine and James exhibited on a number of occasions with their male counterparts points, however, to a connection on a more general level related to the creation of subjective narratives in their ceramic sculpture.

To return to Trajectoires and the questions with which this investigation began, a difficulty remains in providing definitive answers. The question of groupings and how they emerged is one which ultimately cannot be pinned down. Artists were exhibited together according to the needs of the moment and groupings were often determined by a factor as simple as who was in the city at the time. Furthermore, the works produced crossed multiple fault lines related to the questions: why use clay? why make sculpture out of it? and why make it here? Sculptural ceramics was fighting a two front war against pottery and the academy's refusal to take it seriously.[126] Regionalist narratives contested the assumptions of modernist abstraction, but not all narratives were regionalist, except in the broadest sense. Ultimately, the story of Regina clay cannot be constructed according to traditional dichotomies without the risk of serious oversimplification. Compounding the problem was the slowness of critical discourses to respond to this work, a delay which was a result not only of the anti-theoretical bent of the artists involved, but also of ceramists in general. Isolation further exacerbated the situation.

Despite this catalogue of disruptions and delays that are connected with the historical narrative, Regina clay artists are notable for being among the first in Canada to win a measure of respect for ceramics as a sculptural medium. The interdisciplinary coexistence and cooperation between sculptors and potters, a feature which goes back to the origins of ceramics in Regina (as Sandra Alfoldy observes in her essay for this catalogue), was an ongoing feature that provided an environment that was conducive to diverse production. Despite the limitations of producing small scale works without a theoretical agenda and in a regional centre, their work succeeded in gaining national and international attention. Furthermore, their articulation of an aesthetic that is based in place and personal experience stands as one of the early attempts in Canadian art at a "cognitive mapping" of the emerging postmodern world.[127] Located at the intersection between the local and the global, the worlds that they created engage viewers today with a vitality that derives from their intuitive understanding of the complex cultural issues that continue to shape our globe.



Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery - NMAG

University of Regina Archives and Special Collections - URA

[1] See especially Maija Bismanis, The Continental Clay Connection (Regina: NMAG, 1980).

[2] For a discussion of this issue see David Howard's essay for this publication, "Making Space for Clay?: Ceramics, Regionalism and Postmodernism in Regina."

[3] Suzanne Rivard Le Moyne, telephone interview by the author, 28 September 2005. Victor Cicansky, interview by the author, Regina, 21 October 2004. Other individuals involved in assembling the exhibition were Luke Rombout, representative of the Canada Council Art Bank which had already purchased a work by Levine, and curator for the project, Alvin Balkind, curator of contemporary art for the Art Gallery of Ontario. Balkind traveled to Saskatchewan in early 1973 and made selections for the exhibition at that time. See Balkind to Yuristy, UBC Fine Arts Gallery, Vancouver, 27 February 1973, Russell Yuristy Papers, URA, 85-38-16.

[4] The NMAG has altered its name twice, becoming the Mackenzie Art Gallery in 1990 and the MacKenzie Art Gallery in 1992.

[5] Suzanne Pagé, "Introduction" in Canada Trajectoires 73, exh. cat. (Montreal: Editions Médiart, 1973): n.p (my translation). The painters and sculptors which Pagé characterizes with this description are Manitoba artists Don Proch and Esther Warkov, Newfoundland artist Christopher Pratt, and the Ontario artists John Boyle, Murray Favro and John MacGregor.

[6] Pagé, n.p (my translation).

[7] Rivard Le Moyne, interview.

[8] Terrence Heath, "Les Céramistes de Regina" in Canada Trajectoires 73, n.p. (my translation).

[9] Heath, n.p. (my translation).

[10] See Joan Lowndes, "The Canadian presence in Paris," artscanada (October 1973): 73-80. Lowndes provides a thorough analysis of the reactions to the exhibition in the French press. A full press package is included in the Yuristy Papers, URA, 85-38.

[11] Cicansky, interview.

[12] For example, The Continental Clay Connection focused only on those artists with direct connections to California funk and left out Jack Sures and Russell Yuristy. The presence of students at varying stages of development further complicates matters as do the crossovers between sculptural and functional approaches to ceramics.

[13] I am indebted to the research of Sandra Alfoldy into the early development of ceramic practice in Regina. Her research appears in the essay "Setting the Stage for Regina Clay" in this publication.

[14] Ann James recalls that Melchert's name was suggested by Gómez's art school friend, Ron Nagle. Ann James, correspondence with the author, London, U.K., 27 February 2005.

[15] Marilyn Levine, artist's statement, Levine, exh. cat. (Regina: NMAG, 1974), n.p.

[16] See Bismanis, The Continental Clay Connection.

[17] In 1963 Gómez's work was exhibited in Work in Clay by Six Artist at the San Francisco Art Institute Gallery alongside important Bay Area figures, including Michael Frimkess, James Melchert, Ron Nagle and Stephen de Staebler. See John Coplans, "Out of Clay," Art in America 51 (December 1963): 40.

[18] Sures had met Melchert on his way to Japan in 1966. Jack Sures, interview by the author, Regina, 18 November 2004. Sures spoke to Nancy Dillow shortly after she was hired as director of the NMAG in 1967 regarding the possibility of an exhibition of California ceramics. Wayne Morgan to Bruce Ferguson, Regina, 5 August 1982, Dunlop Art Gallery Archives.

[19] James Melchert, interview by the author, Berkeley, California, 21 March 2004.

[20] The 1966-67 Principal's Report noted a sharp increase in enrolment with over 500 students taking art classes as part of the new Arts & Sciences curriculum. Principal's Report, University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus, for the Year Ended June, 1967, URA.

[21] Sures, interview. In 1968-69, the same year that the School of Art became the Department of Visual Art, the B.F.A. program was approved to go into effect for the following year. Principal's Report, University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus, for the Year Ended June, 1969, URA.

[22] In 1968-69, G. H. Beatty, Director of the Department of Extension Programs reports: "Registration in adult fine arts classes has doubled in the last two years. The pottery classes continue to attract more students than facilities are able to handle." Principal's Report, University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus, for the Year Ended June, 1969, URA.

[23] For a comprehensive history of the workshops see John O'Brian, ed., The Flat Side of the Landscape: The Emma Lake Artists' Workshops, exh. cat. (Saskatoon: Mendel Art Gallery, 1989).

[24] See Timothy Long, "Lost in Two Different Ways: John Cage at Emma Lake" in the forthcoming exhibition catalogue for the exhibition Soundtracks.

[25] David Thauberger, interview by the author, Regina, 20 May 1999.

[26] Sures recalls the philosophy at the time was "to be as diverse as possible in mediums, approaches and attitudes." Sures, interview.

[27] Melchert recalls that by 1968 Arneson felt he had been surpassed by Gilhooly. Melchert, interview.

[28] Gilhooly recalled that it was either Melchert or Cicansky who alerted him to the position. Melchert, who was not close to Gilhooly at the time, does not remember mentioning it to him, while Cicansky does. Gilhooly, e-mail to the author, 25 January 2005; Victor Cicansky, email to the author, 30 March 2005; James Melchert, telephone conversation with the author, 8 April 2005.

[29] When Gilhooly arrived he saw Ted Godwin as the "power of Regina." Gilhooly, e-mail.

[30] This was one of the shared discoveries of Gilhooly and his classmates under Arneson at UC Davis. Whiteware was inferior to stoneware for throwing, but it could take glazes that stoneware could not, and thus had unlimited range when it came to colour. See David Gilhooly, "Introduction: As Gilhooly Remembers It" in The Continental Clay Connection, 4, 6.

[31] Matthew Teitelbaum, "Returning Home: Regina, Emma Lake and the Close of the 60s" in The Flat Side of the Landscape, 52.

[32] According to Yuristy, Gilhooly was "snarky" to Sures and he treated him as "just a potter." Yuristy, interview by the author, Ottawa, Ontario, 25 April 2001.

[33] Gilhooly recalls that he and Fafard once "assaulted" Godwin in the department corridors, an incident which Godwin claimed broke his ribs. Gilhooly, e-mail.

[34] David Gilhooly, e-mails to the author, 25-26 January 2005. Gilhooly's approach to grading, though not in line with department requirements, found a sympathetic response among the student body. Mel Bolen recalls the student activism at the time, which included lobbying for the abolition of grading, the right to have student representation on the faculty board, and free access to the studios. Mel Bolen, interview by the author, Humboldt, Saskatchewan, 8 June 2004.

[35] Gilhooly, e-mail, 25 January 2005.

[36] Joe Fafard, interview by the author, artist's studio near Lumsden, Saskatchewan, 26 March 2001.

[37] Gilhooly denies creating deliberate caricatures: "no person was intended to be parodied, in fact, they never were. I just made animals and then gave them names later . . . . really the names and the personalities had nothing to do with the animal." Gilhooly, e-mail, 25 January 2005.

[38] Fafard created nine plaster figures in total: Maija Bismanis, university art historian; Terry Fenton, curator of the NMAG; Nancy Dillow, director of the NMAG; Joël Fafard, the artist's son; David Gilhooly; Hettie Gómez, wife of Ricardo Gómez; Jed Irwin, curator of the Regina Public Library Art Gallery; Roger Lee, university art historian; and Russell Yuristy. The portraits of Bismanis, Joël Fafard and Yuristy are in the collection of the MacKenzie Art Gallery; the portrait of Hettie Gómez was recently returned to Fafard; the remaining figures were destroyed or lost.

[39] Interview by Joe Fafard recorded in John D. H. King, "The Emma Lake Workshops, 1955-1970: A Documented Study of the Artist's Workshop at Emma Lake, Saskatchewan, of the School of Art, University of Saskatchewan, Regina from 1955 to 1970" (bachelor's thesis, University of Manitoba, 1972), 319.

[40] Joe Fafard, "Stud," [1970], p.3, MS, Yuristy Papers, URA, 90-38.

[41] Russell Yuristy, interview by the author, Ottawa, 25 April 2001.

[42] Yuristy, interview.

[43] The list of chapters includes: 1. Amedeo Modigliani; 2. Goya; 3. Blake; 4. Hieronymus Bosch; 5. Marcel Duchamp, Dada; 6. Those Etruscans; 7. Mr. Primitive; 8. Bob Arneson and the Suburban Scene; 9. Dave Gilhooly and the History of the Pipe; 10. Roy de Forest and Rene Magritte; 11. Maija and the Rainbow House; 12. Grass Roots.

[44] Wendy Parsons, interview by the author, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, 29 July 2004.

[45] David Thauberger, interview by the author, Regina, 20 May 1999.

[46] David Thauberger, telephone interview by the author, 8 October 2005.

[47] Suzanne Zwarun, "That artist fella," Maclean's, 25 July 1977, 25.

[48] Victor Cicansky, "Introduction to the Cicansky Papers," URA, 90-96.

[49] Cicansky, interview.

[50] Robert Arneson had advised the gallery, which also showed his work, that she was an artist worth watching, although Gilhooly reportedly lobbied against her being taken on. Marilyn Levine, interview by the author, Oakland, 20 March 2004.

[51] Levine had asked the head of Extension, Lloyd Person, for a raise; his response was to put Mel Bolen, who had been hired earlier on Levine's recommendation, in charge. John Nugent later hired Levine to replace Sures during his sabbatical. Levine, interview.

[52] Ann James, interview by Joan Murray, Regina, 8 May 1974, Joan Murray Papers, Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario.

[53] James, interview.

[54] This work later created a controversy when exhibited in the Stratford Gallery's People in the Park exhibit after an official of Rothman's declared that it was "filthy" and should be removed. A plexiglass case was subsequently placed over the work. James, interview.

[55] James, interview.

[56] James, correspondence with the author, 28 September 2005. Ricardo Gómez briefly experimented with foam but abandoned the material when he realized he could not control it. Gómez recalls that James tried the material after seeing his attempts. Gómez, interview by the author, Sydenham, Ontario, 12 March 2003.

[57] In these works she commented on "a very very sad sort of feeling that they had sort of given up the strength of what they should be as women-giving into the sexual." James, interview.

[58] Reg Silvester, "Sculptors hope to teach the art in Regina studio," Leader-Post (Regina)14 January 1974, 7.

[59] James, interview.

[60] James, interview.

[61] The presentation of both pottery and ceramic sculpture at the Dunlop Art Gallery begins with curator Glen Cumming in the 1960s and continues with curators Jed Irwin and Wayne Morgan through the 1970s.

[62] In the 1960s Bob Williams and Reg Dohms worked for a time at the Hone-James studio producing ceramics that were headed in a similar direction. Maija Zack's connection to funk was indisputable, but her time in Regina was cut short by her decision to return to California following her breakup with David Zack. Franklyn Heisler taught some ceramics classes during Sures' term as department head. His funk and conceptual work of 1970-71 speak of another possibility, but he did not return to the department until 1977-78 to complete his M.F.A. and was by then committed to the vessel form. Beth Hone's work from the 1960s and early 1970s was often exhibited at the Regina Public Library Art Gallery. Her ceramics from this period are connected to the vessel form and owe a debt to abstract expressionism.

[63] Dillow's antagonism to the funk clay scene is legendary. Fafard relates an exchange arising from this exhibition in which Dillow made the accusation "You don't take art seriously." For Fafard, comments like this were an incentive to further action: "The more resistance you have, the more determined it makes you." Fafard, interview, 26 March 2001.

[64] Though not the direct sources for Trajectoires, the exhibition set a model for the configuration of the artists that was repeated later that year at the Peter Whyte Gallery, minus Levine who by then had moved to Salt Lake City in September.

[65] See Geoffrey James, "Grand Funk," Time, 23 April 1973, 8; and Sol Littman, "Ceramics: An Artistic revolution," Toronto Star, 23 March 1973, 26.

[66] "Joe Fafard: A Unique Artist from Western Canada," TV Times, 14 December 1973. Some of the other subjects included Noel Starblanket, one of the youngest Indian chiefs in North America; the Regina Globe Theatre production of Tales from a Prairie Drifter; an innovative farm cooperative from Lestock, Saskatchewan; and Catskinner Keen, a self-made millionaire from Edmonton.

[67] The conflicts between these two art movements are considered in Matthew Teitelbaum's essay for The Flat Side of the Landscape, 51-60.

[68] Despite its urban setting, the neighborhood had a semi-agricultural feel as many residents, including Cicansky's grandmother, kept large gardens in which they grew much of their own produce.

[69] The obvious exceptions here are the "additional" members of the Regina Five, Clifford Wiens and Roy Kiyooka, who were both from immigrant families in Saskatchewan.

[70] Wayne Morgan, interview by the author, Grimsby, Ontario, 30 April 2001.

[71] Harold Paris, "Sweet Land of Funk," Art in America 55 (March-April 1967): 98.

[72] See Timothy Long, Prairie Icons: The Discovery of Saskatchewan Folk Art, exh. brochure (Regina: MacKenzie Art Gallery, 1994).

[73] Alex Kelly's remarks about the Regina Five to a meeting of London artists in October 1965, and the exhibition of Greg Curnoe and Jack Chambers at the NMAG a year earlier, offered the promise of a connection between the two cities which ultimately failed to materialize. See Alex Kelly, "Two Small Cities" in David Howard, Arthur F. McKay: A Critical Retrospective, exh. cat. (Regina: MacKenzie Art Gallery, 1997), 24.

[74] Fafard, interview. The comments were relayed to Fafard second hand following a lecture by Curnoe in Regina in the 1970s.

[75] Dept. of Extension, Annual Report to the Principal, 1969-70 and 1973-74, URA.

[76] See Terrence Heath, "The Pensive Turtle," artscanada 31 (autumn 1974): 74-75.

[77] See Wayne Morgan, Russell Yuristy: Sculpture 1971-1981, exh. cat. (Regina: Dunlop Art Gallery, 1981); Russell Yuristy and David Zack, "The Dream City," FILE Magazine 1 (May-June 1972): 38-39; and Russell Yuristy, "Russ Yuristy, his notes, stoneboats, elephants and friends," artscanada 29 (early autumn 1972): 61-67.

[78] See Long, Prairie Icons.

[79] David Thauberger, "The Grain Bin" in "Making a Home out of Existence: Nine Prairie Folk Artists," artscanada 36 (October-November 1979): 1-14. Thauberger also curated Grassroots Saskatchewan, an exhibition of sixteen folk artists for the NMAG in 1976.

[80] A notable example of hostility to Yuristy's public sculpture was the torching of the wooden playground structure Billie the Buffalo in Swift Current, Saskatchewan in 1977 after complaints had been raised about the structure's safety, propriety and cost. With support from the city's administration and local children, Yuristy rebuilt the sculpture using concrete the following year.

[81] Ann Walker, "Four local artists refuse to show a gallery exhibition," Leader-Post (Regina), 11 October 1974, 5.

[82] Ann Walker, "Local artists donate $1,000 to art gallery," Leader-Post (Regina), 23 October 1974.

[83] Ann Walker, "Regina let them slip away," Leader-Post (Regina), 29 October 1974, 7. Dillow responded to the criticisms which Cameron and the artists had leveled at her in a letter to the Leader Post, "The basic role of art gallery."

[84] Lorne Beug, interview by the author, Regina, 14 January 2003.

[85] Margaret Keelan, interview by the author, San Francisco, 17 March 2004.

[86] Frank Nulf makes this claim in the introduction to the exhibition catalogue Alumni M.F.A. Exhibition: A University of Regina Tenth Anniversary Exhibition (Regina: NMAG, 1984), 4. Jack Sures is credited with proposing the program which was approved in 1972 and admitted its first candidates in 1973.

[87] Early M.F.A. ceramics students included Australian Ray Hearn (M.F.A. 1976), Patricia (Bjarnason) Courtnage (M.F.A. 1977), David Anderson (M.F.A. 1977) and Franklyn Heisler (M.F.A. 1978). Other notable undergraduate ceramics students from the latter half of the 1970s were Wendy Parsons, Karen Dahl and Debbie Potter.

[88] Bruce Ferguson, Messages from Southern Saskatchewan, exh. cat. (Halifax: Dalhousie Art Gallery, 1976), n.p.

[89] This question was raised by Matthew Teitelbaum and Peter White in their interview with Joe Fafard. Matthew Teitelbaum and Peter White, Joe Fafard: Cows and Other Luminaries 1977-1987, exh. cat. (Saskatoon and Regina: Mendel Art Gallery and Dunlop Art Gallery, 1987), 48.

[90] Fafard, interview by Teitelbaum and White, 48.

[91] Cicansky, interview.

[92] Richard Spafford, interview by the author, Regina, 25 October 2005. See Clyde McConnell, "Two Regina Artists: Fafard and Lambert-Kelly," artscanada 27 (October-November 1970): 79-80; and "Some Thoughts-Theoretical and Practical-on the Gifts Artists Make," artscanada 27 (December 1970-January 1971): 36-40. McConnell also organized the exhibition Five Plus Two for the Mendel Art Gallery in 1971.

[93] Fafard, "Stud," 3.

[94] See Bruce W. Ferguson, Victor Cicansky: Clay Sculpture, exh. cat. (Regina: NMAG, 1983), 6.

[95] Eli Mandel, "A Comprehensible World: The Work of Cicansky, Thauberger, Yuristy and Fafard," artscanada 36 (October-November 1979): 15-19.

[96] Eli Mandel, "Images of Prairie Man" in A Region of the Mind: Interpreting the Western Canadian Plains, ed. Richard Allen (Regina: Canadian Plains Studies Centre, 1973), 206.

[97] Mandel, "A Comprehensible World," 18.

[98] Mandel, "A Comprehensible World," 15.

[99] Ferguson, 18.

[100] Ferguson, 10.

[101] Ferguson, 17.

[102] Ferguson, 21.

[103] Peter White, David Thauberger: Paintings 1978-1988, exh. cat. (Regina: NMAG, 1988), 57.

[104] White, 27.

[105] White, 28.

[106] White, 19.

[107] White, 28.

[108] Nancy Tousley, "Putting Things in Place: David Thauberger's Vernacular Style" in David Thauberger: Paintings 1978-1988, 7.

[109] Tousley, 10.

[110] Nancy Tousley, "Prairie Vernacular," Canadian Art (Fall 1987): 90-91.

[111] Svetlana Boym, The Future of Nostalgia (New York: Basic Books, 2001). A useful application of Boym's categories to regionalist discourses can be found in Maureen A. McKnight, "Just Nostalgia: The Cultural Work of Memory in American Literary Regionalism" (doctoral thesis, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2003).

[112] Boym, xviii.

[113] Boym, xviii.

[114] Teitelbaum, The Flat Side of the Landscape, 57.

[115] Bismanis, 67.

[116] John Natsoulas, ed., David Gilhooly (Davis, California: John Natsoulas Press, 1992), 19.

[117] Natsoulas, 29.

[118] See Gary Michael Dault, "With David Gilhooly in the Frog World," artscanada 29 (Spring 1972): 12-13; and Dale McConathy, "David Gilhooly's Myanthropy, or From the Slime to the Ridiculous," artscanada 32 (June 1975): cover, 1-11.

[119] Fafard compares the Haynee sculpture to a seated Egyptian in Geoffrey Ursell, "Fafard," Emerging Arts West 1 (October 1975): 33. Fafard recalls becoming enamored of the "compactness" of Benin bronzes from Nigeria. Fafard, interview by the author, artist's studio near Lumsden, Saskatchewan, 4 January 2005.

[120] Bruce Ferguson and Phillip Fry, A Souvenir Album of Joe Fafard's Pensées, exh. cat. (Winnipeg: Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1973), n.p.

[121] Roger Lee, telephone interview by the author, 7 December 2004.

[122] Ferguson, Victor Cicansky: Clay Sculpture, 21.

[123] Fafard, interview, 26 March 2001.

[124] See David Howard, "Making Space for Clay?" Critic Donald Kuspit makes a similar argument with regards to American regionalism, in which he sees a concern for "instinct" as opposed to European "culture." Donald Kuspit, "Regionalism Reconsidered," Art in America 64 (July 1976): 64-69.

[125] Ricardo Gómez, "Western Canadian Ceramic Sculpture: A Ten Year Perspective" in Issues in Clay: Western Canadian Sculpture, exh. cat. (Edmonton: Latitude 53 Society of Artists, 1981), 16.

[126] War is not too strong a term to describe these conflicts. After leaving Regina, Gilhooly wrote to Yuristy, "I do continue making as much trouble for Nancy [Dillow], Ted [Godwin] and Jack [Sures] as possible which isn't hard since everyone out here already hates them." Gilhooly to Yuristy, Aurora, Ontario, 1 March 1973, Yuristy Papers, URA, 85-38-5.

[127] See Maria Elisa Cevasco, "The Political Unconscious of Globalization: Notes from the Periphery" in Douglas Kellner and Sean Homer, eds., Fredric Jameson: A Critical Reader (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 102. David Howard critically examines this complex issue more fully in his essay for this publication.

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Virtual Museum of Canada REGINA CLAY: WORLDS IN THE MAKING MacKenzie Art Gallery