Janet Macpherson / Hamilton

Photo : Renée Lear


Janet Macpherson studied ceramics at Sheridan College, and received her MFA at The Ohio State University in 2010. Her solo exhibition A Canadian Bestiary was mounted by the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art in Toronto in 2017. Most recently, she was included in the exhibition Book of Beasts at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Macpherson lives and works in Hamilton, Ontario.

Photos : Étienne Boisvert et Jean-Michael Seminaro


Influenced by my Catholic upbringing, I investigate hybridity within the context of Christian ideology, examining an array of sources from the margins of illuminated manuscripts, lives of saints and martyrs to the depictions of medieval monsters.

Hybrids present us with two things happening simultaneously. They are in flux, one always alluding to and challenging the other. The borders between humans and animals, the manufactured and the natural, the spiritual and the visceral are distinct yet permeable, illustrating differences while creating spaces for wonder and uncertainty.

Bridges can allude to an uncertain passage through space and time. On this bridge, hybrid animals make their way towards an uncertain destination, suggesting the movements of human migration or perhaps a religious procession. Through the gestures of their bodies, the animals reveal their struggles; many are blindfolded, inhibiting their ability to navigate, several have stumbled and fallen, while a few carry their companions tethered to their backs. Migration uses molds cast from found toy animals that have been dismantled, re-composed and wrapped in porcelain sheets—binding, bandaging the figures, contem- plating the intentions of these gestures, I examine the boundaries between devotion and coercion, pleasure and pain, animal impulse and domesticity.

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