In preparing for [the Brandon show 1993] Ione had no idea where the work itself was going to go and the mood during the whole process of getting the show ready was one of pervasive doom. Ione had no idea if the pieces would work at all, no idea what she was trying was do-able. It could only end in complete disaster. And even when it was all done and actually being mounted, she had no idea what if anything it all meant or represented or if it had any worth or significance to anyone at all. In this sense, Brandon was the purest yet murkiest, most exciting expression of her art -- the palpable sense of risk and danger, something new had happened, something primal. A very deep vein indeed was being opened to the light of day.
- from show brochure, Waterloo, 2004
Late in the preparation for [ the Waterloo] show, the roof fell in. I discovered I was working with three times the space I thought I had agreed to fill. What to do? My only option was to incorporate already completed pieces into the show in an effort to occupy space. Out of the problems this posed - speci- fically how to make everything hang together in some kind of coherent whole - arose the theme behind the show, and the 'Tropocene' was invented. The full name of the show became Fragments and 2 partial reconstructions: everything we know about the Tropocene. The whole context within which the show was mounted, therefore, was almost completely after-the-fact and was, I suppose, an example of the remarkable creative potential of naked desperation. I would never have gone as deeply into thematic contextualization had I not been in such a dire situation for this show.
- from talk given at GAAC conference, Montreal, 2010
This is a project that began as a few pieces for the Bierstock Gallery. By moving the show to main gallery you presented me with the challenge: how do I go about taking these ori- ginal core pieces and creating a much larger body of work in such a short time frame?
The solution was to place all the pieces into an overall con- textual setting. Rather than presenting a series of pieces mounted individually, I am appropriating the whole space en bloc, which will now consist of the implied space around and between the individual pieces. Note I avoid using the term ‘installation’; I am a craftsperson first and consider my- self far removed from conceptual artists. In doing so I am taking a huge artistic risk here in making certain themes un- derlying my work more explicit than is usually my practise. But it is something I having been thinking about and heading toward for a long time.
- from show proposal to the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, 2003
Close scrutiny reveals complex surface variations on parts riddled with imperfections, all gauged to capture, then refract, light. Rendered in techniques of her own devising, Thorkelsson’s work attests to innovation, experimentation and risk. - Glenn Allison, Thunder Bay Art Gallery, 2007
Ione Thorkelsson is an artist of great courage and commitment. She has achieved national respect and recognition through innate skill, considerable self-investment and self-evaluation, sheer tena- city, and an immense respect for the medium ... Ione is to be commended for seizing risk and following instinct.... Appearing at once recog- nizable yet vastly unfamiliar, Ione’s work remains distinctive, conceptually fresh, and technically brilliant within the scope of Canadian practice. - Helen Delacretaz, STUDIO magazine, 2010