“Flower Vases with Flowers in a Vase” Paul Mathieu


‘I have a show up now at the new ECU campus of my “Flower Vases with Flowers in a Vase”, ceramics and large digital photos. Until Sunday Dec. 3, 1st floor Faculty space, open everyday.’

This was the invitation I received from Paul Mathieu. Last Thursday, on a beastly rainy day, I first took plates to Mina’s Strathcona home and then found my way to the brand new Emily Carr University campus. Parking in front of Equinox Gallery I discovered that the ECU Ceramics Department is on the first floor, next to the entrance, right across from the gallery. 



First I found the ‘No name’ gallery on that first floor, and Paul’s show and then wandered in to the Ceramics area. Leon and Darlene were deep in administration discussion so I didn’t stay for an extended tour. Another day..  I found Paul’s office, with a fascinating collection of pots on display, but sadly Paul was not there. He’d warned me that he would be busy, so I wasn’t able to learn more about his new work. All I could do was go back to the show and take lots of photos. 


He designed these vases and cast them in porcelain in his ECU studio. They are now completely covered in Ceramic Art Historical and floral images in his familiar, painstaking, painting practice. There are thirteen vases, twelve of which are set on reflective mylar puddles on the floor. The mirror-like material allows the viewer to notice that the vases are in fact upside-down heads. The thirteenth is on a more traditional plinth and is displaying its function, holding a large bouquet of flowers. This old lady would have wished that all the vases were displayed higher but I can see that the puddle idea would have been a problem.



Each vase has a huge accompanying mural and again, I’d like to have seen the vases at eye level to better connect each one with its image. These are digital collages of photos of the vase from every angle. I’m told that Paul has been working with his students on the display and the assembling of these images.









The show has now been taken down, and I didn’t photograph every vase but these will give an idea of how much work Paul has been doing! 











Eric Metcalfe’s drawing, plate and gouache painting.

On another day I’ll take the time to explore the ECU campus but that day I popped in to Equinox (shows of work by Al McWilliams and Dempsey Bob were being prepared for a Saturday opening) and then headed up to the nearby Western Front where Eric Metcalfe lives.

Eric was pleased to see his two latest plates and peep at Renée’s little sculpture maquettes and Monique’s plates while we had a cup of tea.

He’d just finished that day’s gouache painting and showed me the others in this recent series. I am happy to notice that the plates he paints in my studio wind up being an influence on his other work. In this photo you see his preliminary drawing, the simple design on the plate and then the development of both in the painting.








One Response to ““Flower Vases with Flowers in a Vase” Paul Mathieu”

  1. Gillian McMillan

    Dec 05. 2017

    Just to make it clear that Paul made these vases himself, from start to finish, I’m adding this note from him:
    “I modeled the form (based on a head sculpture by Matisse), I made the molds, I cast them all myself with porcelain slip and glazed each one to, fired to cone 10, based on various bouquet paintings in a ceramic vase.

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