Ione Thorkelsson: Synthia’s Closet – January 12 – February 24, 2017

School of Art Gallery, University of Manitoba presents
Ione Thorkelsson: Synthia’s Closet
the ambiguities and cultural disquietude surrounding current trends in bioengineering and genetic manipulation | sound by Don Benedictson

Exhibition Dates: January 12 – February 24, 2017
Reception: Thursday, February 2, 4:30 – 6:30 pm
Artist Talk: Thursday, February 2, 6:30 pm, 136 ARTlab


Image credit: Ione Thorkelsson, Synthia’s Closet sph-07, 49 x 10 inches, glass, feathers, LED lights.

For Synthia’s Closet, artist Ione Thorkelsson has constructed miniature landscapes inside delicate glass spheres. Motivated by a news article of 2010, Thorkelsson adopts the nickname given to the first synthetically-fashioned genome, “Synthia,” in the title of this, her newest body of work. The artist’s self-fashioned worlds incorporate organic elements, including animal bones and feathers, with fiber optics and LED technology, providing a poetic, visual metaphor for the bioengineer’s pursuit of synthetic life. They remind viewers of the fragility of existence and the risks inherent in scientific experimentation and discovery. While genetic manipulation allows scientists to design new realities, it also modifies fundamental understandings of the natural world. With wonder, there is also trepidation: Thorkelsson asks how these innovations in bioengineering might, in turn, shape us.

The artist is grateful for support from The Canada Council for the Arts and the Manitoba Arts Council.

About the Artist:
Ione Thorkelsson is a Winnipeg-based artist virtually self-taught in the medium of blown glass. Opening her first studio in 1973, Thorkelsson originally derived inspiration from the Arts and Craft movement of the nineteenth century. In these early years the artist engaged with traditional methods, but through the 1990s and 2000s, experiments in casting and free-hand techniques yielded new and exciting forms. Reusing and combining techniques from several stages of her career, Synthia’s Closet is a beautiful illustration of the artist’s technical range.

Thorkelsson has delighted national and international audiences with solo shows at The Winnipeg Art Gallery, The Art Gallery of Thunder Bay, and Toronto Free Gallery and exhibitions in Korea, Belgium, and Thailand. Notable commissions include designs for the Manitoba Motion Picture Association’s ‘Blizzard’ award and the ‘Wave’ for the Gimli Film Festival, as well as public art installations at the James Armstrong Richardson International Airport in Winnipeg and the Canadian Embassy in Hong Kong. In 2007 Thorkelsson was inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and in 2010 she received the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. Read more at the artist’s website.

Gallery Hours: Monday to Friday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Admission is Free.

Parking: ARTlab is located on Dafoe Road next door to Tache Hall and Drake Centre. Find nearby parking by following this link:

For more information:

Donna Jones
School of Art Gallery
255 ARTlab, 180 Dafoe Road

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