An absence of space is exactly what is demonstrated in the art of Benjamin Oswald,a local ceramicist who has won awards both provincially and internationally.His art investigates liminal space. The Shape of Absence explores the mystery of our existence. Director and curator of the Mitchell Art Gallery, Carolyn Jervis, says in a forward printed on the wall of the gallery that the purpose of the exhibit is “…to uncover the big mystery of our existence as they are about peering into the vessel-as-body. As a tool to contemplate the human soul”.
The art itself gives a feeling of emptiness and serenity. It’s plain in color, but has many added dimensions from the lighting. The beautifully crafted sculptures fill the layout of the room. Each piece is unique and doesn’t take away from the others. My personal favourite is the vertical line of cups where just one was off center. The shadows gave it a darker look compared to the rest and the spotlight made it appear heavenly. This made the art seem to have a dismal appearance. The off center look gave off the impression of classism. Another fine art piece is the orange and pink vases that are one of the only pieces painted with a shade of color other than shades of white. This makes them stand out more and gives a life to the rest of the art. The art made it seem far more perfect and different from the rest. This way the art demonstrated the difference between people in society. The white all over the room was for people who didn’t stand out. The colour showing the change and open-mindness lots of people thrive to one day achieve.
There will be a talk with the artist on Nov. 10 at 12 p.m. in the Roundhouse event space on the first floor of Allard Hall.
Cover Photo: Benjamin Oswald, Eclipse, 2023. Courtesy of the artist. Photo Credit: Blaine Campbell
Photos by Samantha Langlois