Monday, March 11, 2013


Art Scene

Drawing the Line, Shaping the Clay

Gallery reception draws record crowd, rings up sales

Submitted by Mary Chalmers Main, CVAA


wo Chilliwack-area artists, Ted Driediger and Heinz Klassen,  have teamed up in a new exhibition — Drawing the Line, Shaping the Clay — which runs from March  7 to April 20th at the Chilliwack Art Gallery on Corbould Street.

Ted Driediger, a studio potter in Chilliwack for more than 40 years and a graduate of the Kootenay School of Fine Art, is known to Chilliwack residents for his biannual exhibitions and sales in his Yarrow studio and for his participation in group exhibits and area craft fairs. 

Driediger’s ceramics, while they celebrate the useful pot, are elevated to the realm of fine art through a sophisticated use of surface embellishment and a confident use of colour and scale. 

Although many of the pieces Driediger has chosen to display at the Chilliwack Art Gallery have a clear function — teapots, jugs, platters, etc. — others pieces, especially the tall vases and larger bottles, explore the limits of function with their slightly exaggerated size or shape and the elegance of their silhouettes. There is a great deal of variety in Driediger’s work yet cohesiveness in the exhibit is maintained through the confidence of a skilled artist’s hand evident in all the pieces Driediger has chosen to include in this installation. 

Heinz Klassen studied art at Vancouver Community College and the Alberta College of Art and Design. His work has been exhibited at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the UBC Fine Arts Gallery and in group exhibitions. 

Although he started out focusing on ceramics and sculpture; his “drawing adventure” as he calls it, began approximately 15 years ago, after a session as an outpatient at St. Paul’s hospital pain management clinic. As a therapeutic measure, he adopted a practice of producing at least one drawing a day.  That modest goal led to an impressive body of work; thousands of smaller-than-postcard-size drawings from which Klassen has chosen approximately 200  to exhibit. 

Grouped by subject matter in long narrow frames, they form a frieze around the perimeter of the gallery. As the viewer moves from left to right s/he is drawn into a visual diary moving from sky to earth and from countryside to city. 

The effect of the installation is both intimate and monumental; the diminutive size of the drawings forces a close proximity between viewer and subject while the large scale of the frieze created by the end-to-end frames recalls classical architecture. Whether the subject be a cloud, the surface of a river or a city sky-scape, Klassen’s drawings have an expressive energy and simple beauty that eloquently reveals his emotional response to his subject matter.

Driediger’s ceramics and Klassen’s drawings taken together create a lively “dialogue” which illuminates the artistic process revealing both artists’ mature facility with line, texture, colour and form in their chosen media; a beautiful exhibit not to be missed.

Drawing the Line, Shaping the Clay may be viewed Wed.-Sat, 12 noon to 5 p.m. and 6:30-7:45 on Theatre Show Nights.

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