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Tuesday September 18th 2018 to Sunday October 28th 2018

Philia 2018 Clay


Botanical Drift

September 18 – October 28, 2018

Reception : Thursday September 20th, 7-9pm

I believe when working with clay that there is a conversation between myself and the material that has lead to a lasting relationship. This material, with a single touch gives me the ability to express emotions that are otherwise hard to convey. It is through this relationship my work has moved sculpturally through forms of nature with a focus on flowers.

Running along side my personal work I have been teaching part time in a Long Term Care facility with WWII Veterans. In this line of work I engage in conversations that generate relationships that are shorter in duration. These relationships are with people at the end of their lives and who live with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Connecting in the ‘here and now” with a person is an honour and a balm to the larger world’s problems.

In both my personal practice and helping others I have gained a high regard for unpremeditated mark making and form squishing that can influence change in my perspective and to inform a body of work. Most of all my craft comes from personal experience, practice and listening to the material.

Botanical Drift is an accumulated knowledge of what I have experienced, all the plants within their natural environments either in Australia, Quebec or in my own backyard. The real plants were sketched in clay, perfected and then pushed further, to create my own real but not real plants, greatly influenced by the working of my own hands.

I see these plants as a “moment in time” that is fully understood. Each plant perfectly clear in its purpose in nature and in the narration of a persons mind. A moment latter, everything changes, the sun moves behind a cloud or a persons awareness wonders. These plants are my way of looking at time, life and love.

– Cynthia O’Brien


OBrien’s studies include a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, plus a year at the University of Colorado, USA. She lives and works in Ottawa and is an active member of the arts community through the Blink Collective, 260 Fingers, teaching in local community centres and at The Perley and Rideau Veteran’s Health Centre. OBrien is recognized by her peers through the Explore and Create Program Grant (Canada Council for the Arts), Helen Copeland Memorial Award (Craft Ontario), Creation Grants (City of Ottawa) and a Mid-Career Artist Award (Ottawa Arts Council). She has participated in numerous artist residencies including Medalta, Alberta; Vallauris, France; TANKS Arts Centre, Australia; Watershed, USA; Ayatana Artists’ Research Program; CPAWS-OV Dumoine River Art Camp, Quebec and 2018 MASS MoCA. OBrien’s work is in the collection of the Taipei County Yingge Ceramics Museum, Taiwan, the Canada Council Art Bank and the City of Ottawa.

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