Linda Sikora

ABOUT

(b. 1960, Saskatoon, Canada, lives and works in Alfred, NY)

Canadian-born ceramic artist Linda Sikora is noted for her wood and salt-fired functional ware, particularly  covered jars, boxes and tea pots. Complex, colorfully decorated, and often conceptualized in prototype groups or series, the work draws from the traditions of European 18 & 19th century industrial production porcelain and common crockery infused with a freedom and lightness that is innovative and contemporary. Sikora is interested in the philosophical and the agency of things. Her work explores the dual nature of ceramics—as objects of beauty and as objects of use—questioning the blurred blurred line between visual art and functional subjects in cultured spaces. She has participated in various artist-in-residence programs including the Archie Bray Foundation, the Chungkang College of Cultural Industry, Korea, Tainan National College of The Arts, Taiwan, Clay Edge, Australia.

Sikora is the recipient of the prestigious 2020 USA Artists Fellowship. She has exhibited widely, and her work is in the collections of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, (Halifax, Canada), Racine Art Museum, (Racine, WI), Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, (Alfred, NY), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, (Los Angeles, CA), Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, (Minneapolis, MN), Everson Museum, (Syracuse, NY), Huntington Museum of Art, (Huntington, WV), and Fuller Craft Museum, (Brockton, MA). Sikora completed her BA in visual art at David Thompson University Center, British Columbia, followed by her BFA at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University and her MFA at the University of Minnesota.

ON HER WORK

Service and display are platforms for culture and behavior. To serve, to display – and to store (preserve, hold) – are gestures that are scalable. These gestures occur in close proximity at individual/private levels and, at large scale societal, global levels. They are the conceptual underpinnings of ceramic subjects such as teapot, plate, or jar.

Jars and teapots have been central to my practice for a number of years now. The teapot, more demanding of specific engineering particular to its function, and the jar, a generous canvas, its criteria of containment more permissive. These pieces fuel or act as a counterpoint to other forms, or subjects under consideration. I am interested in pottery form for its familiarity and congeniality, its ability to disappear into private/personal activities and places. But this is only one aspect of the work that, through its intelligence of color, form and stance can also excite/awaken attention and thereby reflects back to the viewer their own imagination. Invisible or visible, or oscillating back and forth between these states, the pots foster both attention and inattention.

ON NURTURE

It was Gertrude Stein, and then scholars of Stein and Hannah Arendt, who influenced my understanding of social space, political space and the household. One example is an essay about Stein and her experience of the private, household space as the space where the mind is truly free (the most creative and masterful). In this, Stein inverts conventional ideas wed to gendered, privileged (early Greek) structures that typed the household as utilitarian (a place of women, necessity and restriction),  in contrast to the public (male) platform as the only space of freedom. This is a powerful assertion and essential to understand when we consider creative work that is either inspired by or, destined to operate in domestic spaces. When one takes home a creative work– one is really taking home one’s own imagination. And, if we follow Stein’s thinking, we are taking our imagination home to the freest space of our mind. Each time we engage this ‘work’, it reflects our imagination back to ourselves (anew). This is one way we stretch ourselves, one way we change – a form of nurture.

In the home-space, service, storage, and display are obvious realms for ceramic pottery form to operate. This trio has become a framework for recent inquiries into specific subjects (teapot, kettle, crock, box) and the groupings they generate, such as the extended series in the Nature/Nurture exhibition. I have been using these realms to think more specifically, about what ceramic work in this genre is trying to do. To serve (provide, assist), to store (hold, contain, preserve), to display (present, offer, remind) –are gestures in the world. To serve, to store, to display are gestures that occur on a small scale: individual, household level. And, they also occur on a large scale: societal, global level. Things and gestures occur in private spaces or highly-visible places. Service, storage and display impact the way use becomes leveraged against (an object’s) appearance and subject to influence how it is valued, it’s relevance or, whether it remains meaningful. Inquiry into these realms also connects to ideas about the household as a space of freedom. Such associations might influence the way we embody or make meaning of complex conditions …like existence or time for example: consider a teapot that is ‘performative’ over a short, finite duration (until the tea is drained), and the storage jar – in which stillness and silence can actively hold for durations longer than a life.

Linda Sikora on Craft in America

Linda Sikora featured on Craft in America: Teachers on PBS TEACHERS highlights artists committed to sharing their skills and passion for craft with new generations. Featuring glass artist Mark Mitsuda, Navajo...

New York Ceramics & Glass Fair 2018

Ferrin Contemporary at the NEW YORK CERAMICS & GLASS FAIR 2018Jan 18–21, 2018 Kurt Weiser, "Random House (globe)" 2017, porcelain, glaze, china paint, metal, 30 x 14 x 14". NEW...

VIDEOS FEATURING SIKORA

 

 

 

 

Artists committed to sharing their skills and passion for craft with new generations.

Featuring glass artist Mark Mitsuda, Navajo weavers Barbara Teller Ornelas and Lynda Teller Pete, ceramic artist Linda Sikora, and glass artist Therman Statom.

SELECT WORKS BY LINDA SIKORA AVAILABLE IN OUR ONLINE SHOP