The year of Walter Ostrom continues with Art Gallery of Nova Scotia exhibit

The work of the Nova Scotia-based celebrated ceramicist is on display until March 2021

Ceramicist Walter Ostrom (left) is the subject of a new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia exhibition exploring his life and work.
Ceramicist Walter Ostrom (left) is the subject of a new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia exhibition exploring his life and work.

2020 is quickly becoming the year of Walter Ostrom.

Featured in Israel Ekanem’s documentary film at this year’s FIN Atlantic International Film Festival, the celebrated Nova Scotia-based ceramicist is now the subject of a new exhibition at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

Taking the same title as Ekanem’s film, Good Earth: The Pots and Passion of Walter Ostrom not only investigates Ostrom’s earliest work in stoneware and porcelain and his conceptual projects at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University (NSCAD), but it also reflects his passion for gardening, the impact China had on his life and practice, and his lifetime commitment to the exploration and reinvigoration of the ancient ceramic traditions.

“This exhibition offers a unique glimpse into the life and work of Walter Ostrom,” says Shannon Parker, exhibition co-curator along with Dr. Julie Hollenbach. “Ceramics are something we experience every day in our homes, but the work in this show speaks to Ostrom’s enduring exploration of pottery that is both utilitarian and conceptual.”

Some of the works on display in Good Earth: The Pots and Passion of Walter Ostrom at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
Some of the works on display in Good Earth: The Pots and Passion of Walter Ostrom at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

Living in the small fishing community of Indian Harbour, Nova Scotia, for nearly three decades with his family, Ostrom studied at NSCAD and is now professor emeritus of the institution’s ceramics department.

Ostrom has been credited with inspiring generations of ceramists with his practice of altering form, surface treatments, and the rich elements of social commentary, geographic references, art history, and political statements permeating through his work.

“We are extremely honoured to have had the opportunity to work with Walter and the co-
curators to create this dynamic exhibition,” says Nancy Noble, director and CEO at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. “This show, which is scheduled to travel throughout Canada, showcases the work of an important Nova Scotian artist with international acclaim.”

The exhibit is dedicated to the late Dr. Sandra Alfoldy, the exhibition’s instigator and one of its original co-curators. Both an associate curator of fine craft for the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and a craft history professor at NSCAD University, Alfoldy died in 2019 following a year-long battle with cancer.

Good Earth: The Pots and Passion of Walter Ostrom continues at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia until March 4, 2021. Visit artgalleryofnovascotia.ca for more information.