Rory MacDonald

Artist Statement

Questions are the core of my making. What current and historical roles has ceramics played in art, craft and design and how can we continue to push our understanding of the built environment and our place and impact on the environment as a whole. My interests in process and materials are hopefully not divorced from my surroundings. I see my work as a set of contradictions, a kind of social formalism, with a strong commitment to ceramic process and imagining what connections can be drawn between experience and a medium with a long material history of making. I cannot escape that ceramics is in all of it’s refinements and technologies made from the earth. While my approaches are at times multidisciplinary, this is primarily to see ceramics as an activity, as a subject of research and to challenge my own perceptions and understanding. I strive to make new associations in the medium and to communicate those through new forms. My intent is to create new audiences for contemporary ceramics, by pushing the processes, science, technology and craft in new ways. Many of my works are experimental gestures, which to this point continues to force innovations in site-specific installation, public intervention, small objects, ceramic surface, the impact of digital space on our imaginations and the development of ideas around public craft.

-- Rory MacDonald


Rory MacDonald is interested in the many roles for ceramics within the practice of craft, design and art concentrating on the development of new public audiences and spaces for contemporary ceramics. Central to his research is the exploration of the concept of public craft. MacDonald’s current work explores the contradictions of temporality in ceramic art. He has developed site-specific firing and new techniques for glaze applications to architecture and public space. His studio work and small objects explore display and surfaces concerned with haptic change. He has been exhibited nationally and internationally. participating in numerous residencies including at the Experimental Sculpture Factory (China) and Thematic residency-Imaginary Places at the Banff Centre (Canada). MacDonald received his M.F.A from Alfred University (1999) and is currently Associate Professor of ceramics at NSCAD University.