13 Apr

A Canadian Bestiary by Janet Macpherson

This exhibition at the Gardiner Museum was on my must-see list while in Toronto, and it did not disappoint. It wowed and impressed. Janet Macpherson creates weird and wonderful hybrid animals in porcelain cast from all sort of objects in the form of animals, such as toys, decoys, masks, etc. The exhibition is made up of four groups of installations and explores the Canadian experience in different ways.

Janet Macpherson: A Canadian Bestiary

Janet Macpherson: A Canadian Bestiary

The carved deer head and legs were among my favourite pieces. I think they were glazed in black and then the intricate leaf pattern was carved into the surface to reveal the white porcelain underneath.

Janet Macpherson: A Canadian Bestiary

Janet Macpherson: A Canadian Bestiary

Janet Macpherson: A Canadian Bestiary
The installation below was the most fascinating of the four because the viewer needs to take a long time looking at the many strange combinations of animals that make up the individual pieces. My favourites (not pictured here) were a polar bear body with the head of a song bird, and one with the body of an eagle combined with the head of a horse.

Janet Macpherson: A Canadian Bestiary

Janet Macpherson: A Canadian Bestiary

Janet Macpherson: A Canadian Bestiary

Janet Macpherson: A Canadian Bestiary

Such an inspiring exhibition to see! The show continues at the Gardiner Museum until May 22, 2017, and was commissioned to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. View more photos of the exhibition here.

© Rachael Ashe