Winlaw potter and educator Robin DuPont has been nominated for the 2013 RBC Emerging Artist People’s Choice Award. This annual award, presented by the Gardiner Museum in Toronto, recognizes five outstanding artists from across Canada who work in ceramics. The award will go to the artist who receives the most votes from the participating public.
DuPont lives in the Slocan Valley with his family and operates a studio year-round. He specializes in hand-thrown pieces intended for day-to-day use: a favourite coffee mug, drinking glass, platters and sizable dinner plates, tea pots, pitchers and vases.
His work is fired in a wood-fired kiln, a large brick structure located out-of-doors, surrounded by the coniferous forest of DuPont’s property.
The process of firing with wood is both time and labour intensive: collecting and splitting wood, bring the kiln up to temperature and monitoring it through its firing cycle, often late into the night. The wood provides not only the source of heat but imparts a unique surface finish to the work through ash deposits and heat flashing that occur during firing.
Of the five artists nominated, DuPont stands alone in being the only artist working in functional ceramics (the other nominees work in sculpture and conceptual installation), the only resident of Western Canada, and the only artist living/working in a rural setting.
DuPont was nominated by Katrina Chaytor of the ceramics faculty at the Alberta College of Art and Design where he did his undergraduate studies, between studying at Kootenay School of the Arts in Nelson (where he is now faculty) and completing a graduate degree at Utah State University.
An exhibition featuring the work of the award nominees is currently on display at the Gardiner Museum until October 13. Members of the public have until then to cast their vote for their favourite artist. The winner of the People’s Choice Award will be announced at an awards reception on October 15.
DuPont’s piece for the exhibition furthers his intent that the work take on a life of its own, beyond the context of the gallery, by inviting visitors to handle and interact with the items on display much as they would in daily life, and share the moment via an on-site camera that uploads images to social media. Follow the process here.
To view the nominees and cast your vote, click here. Voting closes October 13.
DuPont’s artist’s statement can be found at robindupont.com.