The BAC's Permanent Collection of Contemporary Canadian Ceramics
- BAC owns the largest collection of Contemporary Canadian Ceramics in the world
- Curated by Jonathan Smith, who is one of Canada's foremost authorities in this artform,
- Contains more than 1800 artworks
- Over 400 significant Canadian artists represented
- A small collection of international artworks of significance, including Picasso and Hamada
- 10% of the pieces are on display in the building at all times
- Fire + Earth: 80 selected artworks from the Collection, travelled to Japan, Regina, Thunder Bay and Halifax; also on Virtual Museums Canada
- Each work selected by staff and a volunteer committee of experts
- If a monetary value were to be placed on the collection, it would exceed $1 million.
The Burlington Art Centre plays a unique national role in collecting contemporary Canadian ceramics. The development of a critical mass of approximately 2000 artworks is a principle 'driver' for our curatorial work. Exhibitions of contemporary ceramics are curated by Jonathan Smith, from our own collection and from practicing Canadian artists. International and historic artworks are utilized to provide context and background for Canadian developments.
Many pieces from the collection are on display at the BAC, both in the Brock Lobby and in the administration corridor, as well as in various meeting rooms. You can also view the collection through the vault window, located on the ramp to the Lee-Chin Family Gallery.
Fire + Earth
Fire + Earth: Contemporary Canadian Ceramic Art was the culmination of curatorial concepts that had been developed in several exhibitions at the BAC over three years in the late 1990's. This exhibition developed a critical view of contemporary ceramic art in Canada including works by artists from the west coast, the prairies, Ontario, Quebec and the east coast. The curator, Jonathan Smith, selected 80 artworks including functional pieces (plates, bowls, etc.) as well as sculptural and installation work. The following artists are representative of approximately 60 whose work was included: Marilyn Levine, Victor Cicansky, Roseline Delisle, Steve Heinemann, Alain Bernard, Mickey Handy, Jack Sures, Robert Archambeau, Anne Marie Schmid Esler, Bonita Bocanegra Collins, Ruth Gowdy McKinley, Agnes Olive, Paul Mathieu, Ingrid Nicolai, Joe Fafard, Doucet-Saito, Bruce Taylor, David Gilhooly, Jeanette Edwardes (Burlington), Wayne Ngan, Bailey Leslie, Jim Thomson, Denise McKay (Burlington) and Alexandra McCurdy. The exhibition approached ceramics from art historical, aesthetic and functional viewpoints. It expands the accessibility and understanding of ceramic art from sociological and anthropological frameworks. The curatorial objective of this exhibition is to 'relate' ceramics to contemporary art practice and to 'locate' it within its national and international context.
Fire + Earth travelled to the Itabashi Art Museum in Itabashi-ku, a city north of Tokyo, Japan. The exhibition also travelled across Canada including Regina, Thunder Bay and Halifax. For many of the artists, this exhibition offered a remarkable opportunity to showcase their work both nationally and internationally. And, it continues to be on virtual exhibition through Virtual Museums Canada. Click here to find out more