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Kaley Flowers’ Heavy-Hearted Garden Party

Web nostalgia, digital culture and Froot Loops tones collide in Kaley Flowers’ ceramic sculptures. Heavy-Hearted Garden Party, Flowers’ upcoming exhibition at Artscape Youngplace, uses a playful mythology of characters to explore the internet’s impact on the human condition in turbulent times.  The exhibit includes living plants integrated with clay objects that depict Flowers’ anxieties, fears and hopes for the future.

Visit Kaley Flowers’ exhibition, Heavy-Hearted Garden Party, at Artscape Youngplace’s 1st Floor Hallway Vitrines from March 20 to April 1, 2017. View more details below.

Flowers was awarded the third annual Artscape Award at the 2016 Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition.The award includes a residency at Artscape Gibraltar Point and exhibition at Artscape Youngplace. We met up with her to chat about her residency experience and upcoming exhibition.

Artscape: How was your time working at Artscape Gibraltar Point?

Kaley: My usual workspace is located in a busy and loud area of downtown Toronto, so at first the environment at Artscape Gibraltar Point (AGP) felt too quiet and isolating, especially since I work late at night.

I think the isolation and slower pace helped me focus on conceptualizing new ideas.  AGP is a beautiful location; my studio was spacious and relaxing to work in and it felt motivating to live with other artists.

Canadian Art featured your thesis exhibit, “Intercosm” recently. Can you tell us more about the vision of the project?

“Intercosm” was envisioned as the space where the real and digital collide, and the spirits of my internet-personified statues would reside.  My use of Deep Web imagery (the unindexed, anonymous side of the internet) became an analogy for a kind of underworld. The idea was to take internet-worship to the extreme by materializing icons of the internet.  My work now is often a continuation of that series, though I have a number of projects that stem away from those concepts.

You have exhibitions coming up at Propeller and Likely General. What else do you have in store in 2017?

So far I will be returning to the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition in July and have another solo exhibit in the works.  I have several ideas for projects that I’d like to complete this year, many which involve the integration of technology and other materials into my ceramics, such as the USBs I have been making.  My focus this year is to improve my technical skill through making more complex forms and intricate surfaces and larger sculptures.

What can we expect from your exhibition at Artscape Youngplace?

The majority of pieces are new. I’m using bisque-ware I completed during the residency, but due to recent social and political unrest, my original intentions for this show have shifted.

I’ve been thinking about how technology affects the way we consume information, especially during times of tension as I have seen with this past American election. This includes how internet memes, online communities and social networks play to our collective identities and emotions, and how this influence spills into our lives offline. Also, display cases can be very institutional; often their purpose is to enclose and frame important objects or simulated environments. This mode of display and comparison of artificial and “natural” is important to how I am approaching the curation of the Artscape vitrines and how I came to call these pieces “egosystems.”

You’ve collaborated with other artists online. Will any of these collaborations be part of the new exhibition?

One of the pieces that fit with this show might make an appearance!  Working collaboratively (online) with other artists is something I’m continually interested in.  Heavy-hearted garden party is more personal, so I’m stepping away from that method of making for this show. 

Was receiving the Artscape Award helpful to you?

The Artscape Award is very beneficial to an artist just starting out like myself.  The residency gave me a lot of insight into how to use my medium in different circumstances and studio environments, and I would like to return to Artscape Gibraltar Point again at some point. The exhibition aspect is a super bonus! I’m really looking forward to the exhibition and premiering new work.

Exhibition Details: Heavy-Hearted Garden Party

March 20 – April 1, 2017, Artscape Youngplace, 1st Floor Hallway Vitrines
180 Shaw Street, Toronto, ON, M6J 2W5

Thursday, March 23, 2017
6pm-8pm, Artscape Youngplace


Follow TOAEart for Kaley’s upcoming social media takeover this month!

More about the Artist:
Kaley Flowers is an artist who creates functional and non-functional ceramic sculpture. Each piece she constructs is elaborately decorated—through colour, texture or illustrated surface.  A graduate of OCADU, Kaley is influenced by digital culture, web nostalgia and the impact of the internet in this post-information, post-internet, tech-focused era. She explores her ideas through a mythology of characters and “cyber artifacts,” creating objects that look deeper into our relationships with technology.  Her work has been featured in Canadian Art, The Creators Project, The Globe and Mail and CBC Arts, and is the recipient of the Best of Student Award in the 2016 Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition.

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