Grace Nickel

A wound gives off its own light
surgeons say.” 
Anne Carson, The Beauty of the Husband.

I met Grace Nickel behind my back. Five vessels, shorter vases perhaps,  under plexiglass to keep the gorgeous ceramics safely in view,  rested on the credenza in my Manitoba Arts Council office. I met many fine artists, high and low, gentle and harsh,  angry and charming,  during my years in Winnipeg. Grace’s work reminded me of a relaxation exercise I had been doing since the 1980s where the refrain “calm and serene” were heard softly. All I had to do in my MAC office was turn around and meditate

It was her sconces that next drew me to her work.  I am delighted that Grace has agreed to make two sconces, or sconce based sculptures, stand alone, and including light. She has started experimenting with clay thinking about bones and their fragility inside us. 

“A note to let you know that I’ve been reading the poetry you have sent and I have begun to create some sample “test tiles” for the light sconces. There will be bones (quite possibly some broken), and there will be an overall narrowness to the forms, just as our feet are slender, small bones combining to create the delicate base we stand up on. But something is still missing – cartilage perhaps? – a matrix-like substance or a webbed network that holds it (us) all together? The work will continue.”

Nickel’s biography here on our look show site demonstrates her achievements at home and abroad, far and near. This week she is at a rural Manitoba residency. You will see the work I have asked her for is a small part of a large and advanced ceramics practice. 






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