June 14th, 2024

New ceramics artist featured at Southern Alberta Art Gallery


By Ry Clarke - for the Lethbridge Herald on March 26, 2022.

Herald photo by Ry Clarke Nicole Riedmueller is a local artist using inspiration from feminist art and craft practices to create one-of-a-kind objects that inspire contemplation and functionality

The Southern Alberta Art Gallery (SAAG) held an opening night reception Thursday welcoming its newest Shop Feature artist Nicole Riedmueller.
The Shop at SAAG features three artists per year running in four-month intervals showcasing an artist’s work. Emma Thomas, SAAG visitor services coordinator, says Riedmueller’s work has a rich history with feminism and incorporates that theme with her medium, ceramics.
“We’re heading into spring with warmer weather. The show has been very light and bright and that was kind of the goal for this feature,” said Thomas on incorporating the art and theme with the change of season fitting with The Shop at SAAG.
Riedmueller is a local artist here in Lethbridge, graduating from the University of Lethbridge with a BEd in 2018 along with an MFA in 2020. As an artist Riedmueller uses both research and creation to bring a more conceptual feeling into her art. A ceramic artist working with functional conceptions to incorporate an experience with the material, Riedmueller says her practice helps her experiment and make discoveries about the art that translate through her creation.
“These pieces here are actually more indicative of my art practice, these pieces are representative of quilting, but in a ceramic form. I researched quilting as a voice of the feminist politics, and it kind of was one of the first ways that women were activists. Because they were doing it in a way that was hidden, and not very obvious, but it was something that they engaged in first.”
The process and the labour are key to Riedmueller’s craft, feeling her art is a learned skill that helps align with ‘art as a function’ being conceptualized through use and cultural context.
“You bring it into the context of interaction with people and culture, almost [like] a performative act. It brings in a layer of meaning to it. That for me, adds to the meaning. It’s not just an object, its an object that we engage with together and we use together.”
Her work brings a collective experience to art, showing the functionality of an object, but also allowing a meaning to develop and hold generations through the tradition of passing down from one family to the next. “These are vessels and they are vessels that hold ideas and stories and experiences. And when we bring those into our home, it’s so much more rich to engage with.”
“If you’re the type of person who wants to infuse your life with meaning and infuse your daily rituals with content, handmade objects are a beautiful way to do that, because there’s thought put into every stage of their creation.”
Riedmueller says handmade objects take time and practice with a “beat of the drum” that cannot be rushed. The labour and time that goes into the creation gives art the ability to help slow down the rush and allow for contemplative thoughts of how the piece will come together.
SAAG’s feature artist at The Shop has included past artists like Michelle Robertson’s Made by Mush, Maria Livingston’s Teal Fawn Designs, and Bryce Singer. SAAG also has several markets throughout the year with a Spring Market coming May 27- 28, along with an art auction on May 7 featuring musical performances and a collection of artworks donated by past exhibiting artists. Th event will kick off the auction which goes until May 21.

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