The Chamber

Ian Johnston

Curated by Kimberly Phillips

6 Jun to 18 Jul 2015

Opening Reception:Thursday June 4, 2015, 7:00 PM

Link to Exhibition Broadsheet with curator's essay


Ian Johnston’s sculptural practice is a supple one, having involved numerous shifts in both method and expression over the course of his career. It is a trajectory he has likened to a stream of consciousness. At its core, however, is a persistent inquiry into the nature and consequences of our relationship with the material world, an exploration, to quote the artist, “of the space that engages our physical selves.” Perhaps not surprisingly, this investigation has resulted in a body of work unified by its sensuous—and stubborn—materiality. Johnston brings his architecture and ceramics background to this exhibition. The Chamber is an enormous inflating and deflating installation that shrouds and reveals an enormous mass of discarded household items diverted from what the artist terms "the waste stream." Mesmerizing and sobering, The Chamber suggests to viewers, as Johnston states, “the paradoxical relationship between limited resources and seemingly unlimited appetite.” This exhibition and its accompanying publication, Reinventing Consumption, are the result of collaboration between Access Gallery, Art Gallery of Swift Current, Dunlop Art Gallery (Regina), Esplanade Art Gallery (Medicine Hat), McMaster Museum of Art (Hamilton) and The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa).


Ian Johnstonis an architect-turned-sculptor based in Nelson, BC. He has exhibited his sculptural ceramic work internationally since the mid-nineties. Johnston studied architecture at Algonquin College and Carleton University in Ottawa, and with the University of Toronto at Paris, France. Prior to opening his Nelson studio in 1996, he spent five years working at the Bauhaus Academy in post-Berlin Wall East Germany. At the Bauhaus, together with two architects, he developed and facilitated a series of semester-long international, interdisciplinary workshops around themes of urban renewal and public intervention in a tumultuous time of cultural transformation. His current work examines our relationship with the environment in installations that use ceramic and mixed media and appeal to multiple senses of the viewer.


Access Gallery gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and BC Gaming, the City of Vancouver, the Burrard Arts Foundation, and our committed donors, members and volunteers. The artist wishes to also gratefully acknowledge the support of the Columbia Basin Trust and the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance.