Books: Peter Powning, A Retrospective (Goose Lane Editions)

Category: arts 254

The latest collaboration between Goose Lane Editions and art historian John Leroux focuses on the work of Markhamville sculptor and ceramist Peter Powning. 

Matt Carter  

While any long list of complimentary adjectives could be employed to describe Goose Lane Editions’ recent publication Peter Powning, A Retrospective, art historian John Leroux says it all in his introduction where he writes, Peter Powning has established himself not only as the dean of New Brunswick sculptures and fine craft artists, but also one of the most inquisitive polymaths in Canadian art.  Across nearly two hundred pages featuring Powning’s stunning creations in various degrees of detail, this latest in a series of collaborations between Goose Lane and Leroux exploring New Brunswick artists and architecture is yet another reason to appreciate this beautiful province we call home.

Powning’s work is difficult to categorize. Known simultaneously as a sculptor and a ceramist, his work often weaves between both worlds incorporating iron, glass, clay, bronze, porcelain and steel, among any number of found or handmade materials, to create unique works that challenge form, purpose and our collective interpretation of what art can mean in both the physical and theoretical sense. His works are highly unusual in design, each piece a catalyst for discussion in its own right. 

In addition to a wealth of photographs capturing Powning’s work in various settings, Peter Powning, A Retrospective includes a series of bilingual essays with contributions by Peter Larocque, head curator of the New Brunswick Museum, writer and art critic John K. Grande, art historian Rachel Gotlieb and the late Allen Bentley, a past contributor to monographs on Miller Brittain, Herzl Kashetsky, William Forrestall and others, each taking a different and fascinating approach to glean meaning and purpose from Powning’s work.

High praise must be given to Goose Lane and Leroux for creating another volume of work that sheds an important light on our own “backyard masters”, for it is artists like Powning who help shape an interpretation of New Brunswick easily taken for granted, or worse, completely unknown, to the larger population.  The beauty of his work, much like that of our own provincial surroundings, is highly deserving of this appreciative collection.

Grab a copy at Westminster Books or your local book shop, or order directly from Goose Lane Editions

Website banner image: Memory Vessel, Irving Memorial Park, Saint John, NB



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