The New Brunswick College of Craft and Design’s first Scholar in Residence, Sarah Cale, returns to Fredericton from Brussels to open her exhibition at The George Fry Gallery.
The Waves, the title of Sarah Cale’s exhibition, comes from a novel by Virginia Woolf of the same title. During the initial stages of creation, Cale listened to an audiobook of The Waves and this is when the link between the narrative of the book and the making of the exhibition began to materialize.
Cale was introduced to the NBCCD community in January of 2023 when she joined the college’s ranks for the winter term as a visiting scholar/artist in residence.This position saw Cale interacting with faculty, staff, and students, creating new work, and teaching Creativity classes. Cale, an interdisciplinary artist whose practice mainly involves painting, textiles, and ceramics, worked in both the NBCCD Textile Design Studio and the NBCCD Ceramics Studio during her stay in Fredericton.
The work in her new exhibition, although varied, is brought together by a single repeating handwoven pattern with an undulating character: “a wave of threads rising and falling in a repeated motion.” In between this wave-like image where the rise and fall meet, forms of eyes are depicted: eyes from which the characters found in this exhibition emerge. Faces constructed in ceramics, as woven tapestry and as paintings arise from a tide of this single patterning.
Cale, who currently resides in Brussels, spent a large part of her childhood and teen years in New Brunswick, in St. Andrews and high school in Saint John where her extended family originates.
She credits the craft traditions in New Brunswick associated with the college and beyond in influencing her thinking and her work.
“My art practice which focuses primarily on painting has been approached conceptually with the use of craft techniques to access a critical stance on the historical painterly gesture and the illusionistic space of a painted image. I attribute this and link it back to my early years in St Andrews,” said Cale.
As much as she influenced the people around her at the college, Cale said she was certainly influenced by people she met who were open and eager to support her ideas and collaborate with her. Because of this, she strategically chose to learn new skills during her residency rather than produce work she already knew how to make.
“I chose to adjust my plan to take form day by day in response to the people and conversations I was having; I received so many great ideas and insights through this. I found it productive to follow my whims and worry about how it would come together later.”
With her mixed media approach, Cale is pushing boundaries and helping others stretch their existing ideas of what a medium can be. When asked about this, Cale said this is the only way she knows how to work.
“My creative attention wanders and self-destructs when I try to focus too much on technique so I can potentially shakeup the order of things with my approach,” she explained.
The Waves, by Sarah Cale will be on display at the George Fry Gallery, 408 Queen Street until October 17.