Push Panel Discussion members: Left to right Peter Pierobon, Jane Kidd, Steven McNeil, Anthony Matthew and Gary Cherneff

Last weekend (19-20 May 2023) saw the fundraiser exhibition for the Salt Spring National Arts Prize with an exhibition devoted to Fine Craft artisans, held at historic Mahon Hall. Curated by Anthony Matthews, the show included 36 Southern Gulf Islands makers across diverse media including clay, textiles, metalwork, glass, basketry, wood, stone and more.

Titled PUSH, the exhibit explored the intersection between Fine Craft and Fine Art. The artisans were asked to take their material and process to the very edge and create work that pushes their Craft solidly toward the realm of Art. Visitors to the exhibit saw exquisite and outstanding pieces that transcend their disciplines, inviting visitors to ponder the question “Is it Craft or Art – or perhaps both?”

The quality of the works was exceptional and is a reflection of the high caliber of artisans working on these islands. Collectors seemed to agree as of this writing, one third of the works have been sold!

To start off the festivities, on Friday was a pair of receptions, one with the artists meeting SSNAP donors and sponsors and following that was an opening for the whole community. The Hall was filled with enthusiastic visitors for the entire day and evening.

On Saturday evening, a panel discussion was held to explore the theme of the exhibit. Three highly respected artisans – studio furniture maker Peter Pierobon, textile artist Jane Kidd and potter Gary Cherneff – joined Steven McNeil, the curator of Canadian Art from the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and moderated by the exhibit curator. Attendees enjoyed a lively discussion and were able to dialogue with the panelists directly.

Something of a dry run for the SSNAP finalist exhibition, it gave the organizers an opportunity to engage with the community of artists as well as the visitors and residents during a traditionally busy Victoria Day weekend. We can all look forward to the fifth biannual SSNAP finalist exhibition opening this September 22, 2023. Join our social media pages and email list to stay in touch. Artists had until midnight on May 31st to get their submissions in.

Article was published in the Driftwood here.