The following excerpts are from a talk given at the annual GAAC conference, Montreal, 2010:
One subtle change that undoubtedly nudged me towards the art side of the ledger had something to do with the onerous problem of naming... I was one who objected to having to give descriptive names to her work. My view at the time was that it was my job to make the work; it was up to someone else to interpret it and give it context.
In 1993, Glenn Allison, then director of the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, who had seen some of my early cast experiments, invited me to attempt a large body of cast work for a solo show at his gallery. Anyone who knows Glenn knows he is an open, enthusiastic, gutsy curator who is very patient with artists and willing to take risks. Glenn did a wonderful job. And he did all this without any comment from me about the work I was preparing for his gallery...because, after all, I didn't believe the artist should be required to say anything about her work. On the right are two pages from the show brochure. The first piece is called '2-footed bowl'; the second is called '3-footed bowl'. Of the total twenty-one pieces in the show, there were seven '2-footed bowls' and four '3-footed bowls'. You begin to see the problem with generic names. Poor Glenn. He finally had to name the show simply 'Ione Thorkelsson' because I had given him absolutely nothing to go on.
By 1998, with the Winnipeg Art Gallery show, 'Unwilling Bestiary', I had seen the light and had begun giving descriptive names to my work. For example, the piece on the cover of the brochure was called 'Mayfly' and the one on the back was called 'Spine bird'. This piece is 'Fallen wing' [image]. And this, 'Tick' [image]. So my change of heart about naming occurred some time in the interval between these two shows. The significance of all this is that now, in a small way, I was not quite so insistent that the work stand on its own. It seems like such an insignificant little thing in retrospect, but I probably had already begun to stray from my proper place in the Metcalf/Koplos craft/art divide.