Curated by Doug Kirton and David MacWilliam
Crania is a touring exhibition presented in collaboration with the School of Art Gallery, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg; Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge; University of Waterloo Art Gallery, Waterloo; and CANADA, New York City. The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with an essay by Joyce Millar, and a new edition of Robin Peck’s book of essays entitled Sculpture: Journey to the Circumference of the Earth. The artist and co-curators wish to gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Crania brings together a selection of sculptures from Robin Peck’s on-going series of the same title, a project now comprised of over sixty individual pieces. Recalling in scale and shape one of nature’s most basic volumes—the cranium—these works evolve out of a highly personal dialogue with the mundane, yet provocative and sometimes incompatible stuff the artist engages with in his daily studio activity. A single sculpture, for example, might contain a complete collection of such disparate materials as sandstone, plaster, aluminum, burlap, quartz, Hydrocal, rubber, Plexiglas, then more plaster, before being finished with a luminous patina of shellac and carnauba wax. Often working on several sculptures at the same time, he joins, hammers, and rasps his materials into the right form, while other attempts are discarded or temporarily put aside for future consideration. The cerebral rigour of Peck’s process reflects his roots in minimalism and conceptual art, while his insistence on the value of making reminds us that the body is truly our fundamental means of knowledge and discovery. Each unique sculpture tells a story about the artist’s process and presence, and assumes a poignant vulnerability in our seemingly dystopic, post-industrial present.
Photography: Scott Lee
Robin Peck is a Canadian artist, writer and educator. Peck received his MFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and has taught at universities across Canada including the University of Lethbridge, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, and was a Professor of Art at St. Thomas University until 2019. His essays and critical writing have been published in Canadian Art, Sculpture, and C Magazine, as well as several journals and exhibition catalogues. Recent solo exhibitions include Diaz Contemporary, Toronto; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; and CANADA, New York. His work is represented in prestigious national and international public collections including the D.C. Space Collection, Washington; Vancouver Art Gallery; the Glenbow Museum, Calgary; and High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Robin Peck is represented by CANADA, New York.