AGOG presents Sarah Lawless “Smoked”


Art Gallery of Golden
Art Gallery of Golden
516 9th Ave N, Golden, BC


Fri 16 Feb 2024 - Mon 11 Mar 2024
AGOG is very pleased to welcome Sarah Lawless to the Art Gallery of Golden for her solo exhibit Smoked.

About The Event

We are very pleased to welcome Sarah to AGOG to open her solo exhibit at 5pm on Friday Feb. 16.

Sarah writes:

The annual forest fires in BC and other parts of the world have been growing in size and intensity over recent years. Smoke hangs in the air for months, reddening our eyes and settling into our lungs. Climate scientists tell us that these fires are exacerbated by global warming, which is itself the result of carbon & smoke pumped into the atmosphere through smoke stacks and exhaust pipes. This increased carbon has nowhere to go but into our own bodies, as the world’s forests (the “lungs of the earth”) literally go up in smoke.

But smoke signifies other things as well: Smoke from a chimney or roof vent feels cozy & safe. Smoke from a smudge bowl, incense burner, or censer purifies the spirit and carries prayers heavenward. Herbs & other substances are smoked for relaxation & recreation, often leading to addiction—the cure for which is frequently found in the spiritual realm. In these ways, smoke is one of the ties that bind all cultures of the world together, a signal of our common humanity.

Since we first discovered and harnessed the power of fire, humans have invented a varied array of vessels to contain, process, and transport the resulting smoke. The human respiratory system is also composed of pipes, tubes, and vessels through which our bodies process, absorb, and filter the carbon in our environment.

“Smoked” is a series of earthenware ceramic vessels, exploring humans’ complex relationships & cultural associations with smoke. They have been burnished with a stone, or coated with terra sigillata—a suspension of fine clay particles, polished to a smooth sheen— and fired slowly in a sawdust kiln, so that the surfaces of the vessels themselves have been marked by smoke.

My intention is to draw connections and dichotomies between human bodies & the natural environment, between the sacred & the profane, between traditional & contemporary practices involving smoke. Viewers who have seen this work have been moved to consider the various roles that smoke plays in their own lives and within human culture as a whole.

“All of us were tribal people at one time in our history, and sitting by fires late at night’s a big part of who we all are deep inside… That’s the way the problems of the world are gonna be solved. Once we remember about the common fires that burn in our pasts.” Richard Wagamese, “Keeper’n’Me”

Education & Training:

2006 Kootenay School of the Arts at Selkirk College Nelson, BC: Three-year Diploma of Craft & Design.
2004 Wayne Ngan Studio, Hornby Island, BC: Work Study.
1997 Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC: Bachelor of Arts—English & Linguistics

Selected Exhibitions (juried or invitational):

2023 “Smoked” (solo) Kootenay Gallery of Art, Castlegar, BC.
2015 “Dig This!” Gallery of BC Ceramics, Vancouver, BC.
2015 “Fireworks”. Touring Exhibition with the Ontario Clay & Glass Association, Ontario.
2015 “Design in Canada—Outstanding Achievement from BC”. Canada Gallery, London, England.
2012 “Emerging Artist People’s Choice Award Exhibition”. Gardiner Ceramic Museum, Toronto, ON.
2012 “Deep Cove Fireworks”. Seymour Art Gallery, North Vancouver, BC.
2011 “Connections Materialized”. Kootenay Gallery of Art, Castlegar, BC.
2010 “Modus Operandi”. Kootenay Gallery of Art, Castlegar, BC.
2010  “Fired Up! Contemporary Works in Clay”. Victoria, BC.
2009  “Nesting” (solo). Langham Gallery, Kaslo, BC.
2008 “KSA: Out There”. Gallery of BC Ceramics, Vancouver, BC.
2007  “Celebrate Craft”. Craft Council of Newfoundland & Labrador, St. John’s, NL.
2007 “You Are Here”. Touchstones Gallery, Nelson, BC.
2007 “Fresh Craft”. Crafthouse Gallery, Vancouver, BC.
2006  “International Orton Cone Box Show”. Baldwin City, Kansas, USA.
2005 “BC in a Box”. Tajimi, Japan.

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Kicking Horse Culture presents about four dozen cultural events and activities throughout the year in Golden, B.C., the traditional unceded territory of the Ktunaxa and Secwépemc Nations which is also home to Métis Nation Columbia River.

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