Travel Toronto: Equine in Clay

Horse with Baggage Gardiner Museum TorontoAt every art museum I visit, I look for the animals. Dogs, cats and yes, horses – these are the pieces I’m drawn to because, I guess, everyone wants to see replicated that which they admire the most.

I also love clay, glass, and pottery – any ceramics really. So why I waited so long to visit the Gardiner Museum in Toronto, Ontario I have no idea. But when “Horse with Baggage #1” by Montreal artist Jean-Paul Larocque greeted me in the front lobby, I knew I was in the right place.

According to the museum, the piece made in 2005 was created to look like archaeological artifact centuries old. The artist chose to create the piece in layers – first creating a basic clay framework then applying additional clay layers with multiple firings.Horse with Baggage Gardiner Museum Toronto

Here’s the interpretation:

Many cultures have historically regarded horses as symbols of power and as conduits between different realms in both the physical and spiritual worlds. Larocque’s monumental horses recall these heroic associations, but also make us think of more prosaic beasts of burden. The baggage suggests that this horse is one on the move and creates a dynamic relationship that puts the viewer in the place of the animals’ unseen master. – Gardiner Museum

The museum began in 1984 with a collection donated by its founders George and Helen Gardiner and now includes about 3,000 ceramic pieces, some dating back 10,000 years. It documents history through human creation of clay tools and idols, including the horse that serves civilizations as both.

TRAVEL GUIDE: Located at 111 Queen’s Park, Toronto, the  Gardiner Museum is open Monday to Thursday, 10 am to 6pm; Friday, 10 am to 9 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $15 for adults.  

Check out other horse related art work in Texas here.

Or invest in a good coffee table book and take a look at The Horse: 30,000 Years of the Horse in Art available from Amazon (affiliate link).

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