SITE 17Union Electric Building, Port Union
Flaherty’s installation, SpaceCraft, combines science and ceramics. It is an experimental solar-powered kiln, together with small sculptures fired within it. The kiln’s form is based on the James Webb Space Telescope, which will give us unprecedented details about planets outside our solar system. The sculptures are tiny planet forms that have been affected in various ways by the action of the kiln. Flaherty raises questions about how craft sensibilities can operate in relevant ways in today’s world, possible futures, and our relationships and conflicts between energy consumption and production. In his view of craft as a socially responsible practice, he suggests that 21st century craft must be about sustainability for the planet. During the Biennale, from time to time depending on the forecast, he will move the kiln outside and demonstrate its solar firing.
Flaherty has lived on Newfoundland’s isolated Grey Islands, crisscrossed Canada and the US by bicycle, and inhabited abandoned communities in his home province, all as part of his artistic practice. He has taught sculpture and ceramics at the University of Regina, Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus, and NSCAD, and has exhibited in Canada and the U.S. A semi-finalist for the 2011 Sobey Art Award, he was among five finalists for the 2013 RBC National Ceramics Award. In 2013, he won the Large Year Award from Visual Artists Newfoundland and Labrador.