The essence of ingenuity is to be sought in the transit: it is something not mechanical, but strategic, hinging on the apparent similarity between points of departure and arrival. Mario Perniola, ENIGMAS
In ANIMA MOTRIX: motive spirit, ceramic artist, Trudy Golley and studio metalsmith, Paul Leathers join forces to create artworks that capitalize on a materially-based relationship which started in 1998 with their first foray into collaborative art making, their two-person exhibition/wedding reception, Rub(icon). Referring to the compelling force exerted by objects that engage the viewer’s gaze, the exhibition’s title is drawn from the term coined by Johannes Kepler (1609) to explain gravitational force — Anima Motrix (Latin, ‘motive spirit’). This provides a metaphor for the attraction that both resolved artworks and the unexpected solutions that develop within the creative process hold for artist and viewer alike: the object as lure.
Working in the interstitial zone between craft-based and sculptural genres, Golley and Leathers deal with strategies of attraction while creating evocative objects that address the notion of service. Referencing pre-Enlightenment modes of presentation, the reliquary where a ceramic form hosts a removable wearable ornament’ is used here for its ability to integrate both container and contained. Rather than the somewhat disconnected experience of an observer, the viewer is invited to explore, as an active participant, the objective relationship between viewer, viewed and viewpoint.
As an event, ANIMA MOTRIX: motive spirit represents a block of time, anchored by artists’ residencies in Jingdezhen, China, that allowed the artists to explore new possibilities for their collaborative artworks. Employing innovative technical processes, the artists have incorporated parergonal light effects to attract and locate the viewer, to provide an unexpected sense of discovery, and to address notions of conceptual and intellectual illumination.
In describing their creative process Leathers states, “Collaboration is a shared adventure. Taking a perpendicular stance to the routines of one’s studio practice allows one to be made a stranger to it, and in the end, to transcend one’s expectations of it”. Our collaborative work,” Leathers continues, “where each artist brings in strengths from their respective studio practice, affords us the opportunity to share the making process and to arrive at a fertile place of innovation where we can create novel forms and experiences for the viewer to encounter.”
The artists live in Central Alberta where Golley is the Head of Ceramics at Red Deer College and Leathers maintains his studio practice. Both have been inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.