Gina Stick

Artist Statement

The purpose of my work is to empower the user, the rituals and the environments of everyday life. My work features traditional Asian porcelain media and Western precious metals. Immersion in the media has produced personal interpretations of traditional materials and process for a Western context. Historical context contemporary expression defines the work. Wheel-thrown and hand-built and entirely hand-painted, the work features original icons with layered symbolic resonance.

In the West craft is often relegated to a lower status. Yet everyday objects reveal that life is art and art is life. In Asia it was said "My Kingdom for a teacup" because a teacup can give us the world. My fascination is with the spiritual within the secular, the sacredness of the everyday. An over-glaze master crystallized the synchronicity of the aesthetic and spiritual in art - "the purpose of art is to awaken the heart" - bodhicitta in the Buddhist tradition - meaning to capture and awaken true feeling, human-ness. A guiding aesthetic principle in my work is yun. Yun is literally an ochre-like substance found in the stream-beds of Tibet. More broadly yun refers to places and objects replete with luminosity and an "enriching presence". Yun objects open the senses empowering the user's innate wakeful richness as physical object with spiritual presence.

My interest is in non-conceptual perceptual art with power to provoke direct immediate openness. Also elegance, which is not materialistic as I mean it but a reflection of the human spirit with energetic qualities inciteful of wakefulness, dignity and grace. Elegance is a fruition that is more than the sum of the parts, a synergetic totality. My Buddhist teacher said "elegance is experiencing reality" referring to the limitless virtue inherent in the natural world and in simple daily acts like drinking a cup of tea. Everyday objects and the beauty of materials can point this out, rendering the sacred world visible and palpable. I remain moved by beauty.

Iconography features prominently in my work - a motif that condenses and literally conveys/actualizes the inherent meaning on the spot. The arrowhead icon featured in several works signifies bravery, meaning a natural state of being that is full-hearted, generous and true beyond fear and shame. These materials are my way to express and communicate true feeling and reach to aesthetic qualities expressive of our best original nature.

-- Gina Stick

Bio

I am a professional ceramic artist having shifted my creative and livelihood focus from architecture to full time ceramics in 2017. My work brings a lifetime of diverse design experience into the medium of ceramics. Born in Queens, NYC, I grew up in Westchester County, NY and hold a BA in studio art and an MA, Architecture. My professional design experience includes graphic, custom jewelry, and architectural design. I studied ceramics under Walter Ostrom and Joan Bruneau at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and completed three residencies under porcelain decorative masters in Jingdezhen PRC, the renowned porcelain centre of China. My work is featured in Ceramics Monthly's "Gina Stick: Limitless Meanings" by Heidi McKenzie and editorial by Jessica Knapp, 2018. Current exhibitions include "The Good Earth: The Pots and Passion of Walter Ostrom", The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia; and recent "Craft Year 2020" at the Mary Black Gallery. Awards include the recent Juror's Choice Award, Craft Year 2020 and the NSDCC Juror's Choice Award 2015. Canadian and international exhibitions feature The Beaverbrook Art Gallery 2019; SOFA Chicago 2018 and 2017; FORM MIAMI; and my seminal solo exhibition "The Ritual Objects of Everyday Life", The Mary Black Gallery 2017. The work is currently under acquisition by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and in private collections including the Gesar Palace collection, Bhutan. I live and work in Halifax.

Two streams of my personal history inspire the work: a Western art education and upbringing, and a lifetime practicing Eastern design, culture and spirituality. I was raised by an elegant Boston lady and first generation immigrant-become-handbag designer/manufacturer and amateur sculptor. At the age of 19 I entered into a close design apprenticeship and spiritual practice with Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, the renowned teacher, scholar and artist credited with bringing Tibetan Buddhism and Buddhist inspired culture to the West. Our work together explored a unique aesthetic mixing Western and Eastern design principles, iconography and usage. These influences inform my ceramics work.

This work is my way to make things with my hands to express true feeling: of life, of beauty, of love. Love of what? What doesn't matter: just love, with no object. There is a term in my tradition: one taste. That taste is devotion, joy and sadness rolled up together, which is love.

-- Gina Stick