We are a little less than a quarter way through the 21st century, and between the dawn of social media, the creation of handheld computers, the Me-Too Movement, and The Covid Pandemic ...it has been an eventful quarter century. 

With this in mind; there is a fantastic exhibit taking place that is inviting viewers to ponder and think about the future through the medium of ceramic sculpture. 

Cautionary Tales of the 21 Century: Ceramic Sculpture Scenarios from the Modern World is an exhibit taking place at Kenora’s Muse Lake of the Woods Museum and Douglas Family Art Centre. 

On since April 27th the exhibit features the work of Winipeg master craftsmen and artist Jordan Van Sewell. The exhibit invites patrons to delve into the surreal, fun-house world of Jordan van Sewell and encourages people to consider the future. 

For those unfamiliar with Van Sewell, he has been a fixture on the Winnipeg arts scene for decades and has many works in some of the most prestigious art collections around the globe. 

 His sculptures have been described as whimsical, revealing, and profound. His works frequently offer his own view of the world around him, often with hilarious and thoughtful commentary. 

The Muse Gallery in Kenora approached Van Sewell about doing an exhibit and gave him carte blanche as to what he wanted to present. 

The result is an exhibit that is full of sculptures that are full of fun and whimsy, but also asks the viewer to think about the duality of the art. For example, Van Sewell has created a piece called Hellado; playing on Spanish word for ice cream which is Helado. The piece depicts the devil selling ice cream. At first glance, it looks like a fun caricature, but then the viewer starts to ask questions such as, how does the ice cream stay firm in hell? Who would buy ice cream from the devil? And how much of our soul are we sacrificing for instant gratification? 

gylfHellado by Jordan Van Sewell

The questions that Van Sewell’s art asks of the viewer are the Cautionary tales of the 21st Century. As Van Sewell says, “The cautionary tales are often identified with an allegory. I think once the viewer starts to see the different cautions...they are presented in my usual multi-level approach...where initially you may see snakes and ladders, but as you delve deeper into it, there may be a sinister element or wonderful elements underneath that initial facade.” 

On Saturday, July 13, Jordan Van Sewell will be at the Muse Gallery to talk about his art with the public. The event is called An Afternoon with the Artist. This is a wonderful way to meet Van Sewell and discuss not only the art but other topics as well. As Van Sewell says, “I’m looking forward to meeting any and all who come. I’m just going to spend the afternoon around the exhibition and hopefully we can engage in some powerful discussion regarding not only the state of the show but the state of the world as we know it. I think it will be a delightful afternoon for one and all.” 

Cautionary Tales of the 21 Century: Ceramic Sculpture Scenarios from the Modern World is on right now at Kenora’s Muse Lake of the Woods Museum and Douglas Family Art Centre. This is sure to be an entertaining and thought-provoking show that will get you thinking and buying a piece of Van Sewell’s art. 

For more details visit The Muse’s Gallery or Jordan Van Sewell’s website.