‘Smooshes and Slabs’ by Pamela Nelson are playful assemblages of glazed and fired ceramic performing as wet clay in the process of being squeezed or formed by cast-off architectural materials and objects of everyday urban life.
Ceramic is significant in Pamela’s work because of its material properties and its conceptual significance. Clay is a raw material that not only comes from the earth, it is earth. But once fired, clay transforms into ceramic, a material created by humans that has been in use for millennia. This story should be familiar to Torontonians, since so much of this beautiful city is built from brick, the raw material for which was quarried locally.
Squishing, rolling, flopping, twisting, Pamela’s ‘Smooshes’ use elements in the city as tools, creating the pretence of force, and poking at this very intersection: how the materiality of earth meets the materiality of human culture.