Bridget Fairbank is a relentless maker. Her ceramics connects utilitarian pottery, installation, performance and painting: asking a viewer to engage bodily in an idea. Her art pieces work to implicate and empower a viewer through sensory enjoyment often including taste, touch and smell. These qualities are exemplified in her recent MFA exhibition Foodscapes: From Seed to Mouth, at the University of Florida.
A Canadian born in the mountains of beautiful British Columbia, her childhood was spent exploring nature and making her own fun. Perhaps this is why her work is often project based. Since childhood, she has traveled the world making art and seeking education. These experiences led her to value traditional hand crafts and also embrace technology in the globalized world. She believes strongly in community, living cultural knowledge and the power of the mundane to shape life. As a teacher and technician Fairbank is part of the movement redefining the ceramic field.
I find comfort in the mundane but can’t help wanting to shatter the monotony of the everyday. Being a potter is my way of revolt, my philosophy that the everyday is exceptional and that we must pay attention to what we use. I use the metaphorical landscapes of food as a catalyst for making work about the discourses that mediate our relationships with food. A quiet revolution is cooking in my kiln and in my kitchen.
Making pottery is a way of thinking. A way of working things out. Through making (reflection and use) I contemplate the fast paced lives we live and time itself, deliberate on cultural complexities, our way of sharing, learning, destroying and the role mealtime has to play in our North American food crisis. I ruminate on respect and impermanence. I think of home, nature and globalization through clay and the hand crafted vessel. Ceramics does not give me peace of mind, it is a process that fuels my mind. My functional tableware is bright and bold, edgy and comfortable. Through supple form and surface they ask the user to engage attentively, mindfully, with the
actions of use.
Bridget fairbank makes pottery, installation art, and orchestrates happenings- all of which aim for the re-imagining of everyday actions and relations. The handcrafted object is now the subversive object. Her utilitarian items act sometimes as objects of irony, sometimes as objects of intimacy and sometimes as a means to an educational end. A revolution is cooking in the kiln.