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A close up photo of a ceramic abstract sculpture by Nickel.

Grace Nickel, Eruption #3 (detail), 2018. Photo by Michael Zajac.

Grace Nickel opens solo exhibition “eruptions”

February 8, 2022 — 

Gallery 1C03 at the University of Winnipeg is pleased to re-open its doors with its first in-person exhibition in nearly two years! A solo exhibition by School of Art Associate Professor Grace Nickel opening February 17.


Banner poster for Grace Nickel: Eruptions. Featuring a close up image of her work, exhibition title text and dates.


Exhibition EXTENDED until April 8, 2022


Gallery 1C03 writes:

Eruptions is an exhibition of new and recent work by established Winnipeg artist Grace Nickel in which she collects, studies, transforms and memorializes felled trees and forest fragments in porcelain. Nickel applies an archaeobotanical lens to her investigations, referencing the past and present with regard to the life cycle of living organisms and to varied forms and functions of ceramics production. Nickel’s work also considers how the micro struggle for survival reflects the macro crises in which we find ourselves today, with climate change and resulting environmental catastrophes top of mind.

Nickel’s virtuosic incorporation of diverse ceramic techniques is displayed in Eruptions alongside forward-facing experiments which demonstrate the transformative potential of the medium. Through experimentation in 3D-printing with her collaborator, Michael Zajac, delicate porcelain plumes that burst forth from Eruptions are re-envisioned as other-worldly inkjet prints. Central to the exhibition are limb-like Pyres resembling tree trunks which support miniature forms that reference funerary rituals and provision for the afterlife. Root-like lifelines emerge and stretch skyward suggesting networks of support and the possibility of passage to a new life. An apt creative response to the present time, Eruptions evokes messages of fragility and grief but also hope and resilience.

An illustrated publication for Eruptions, with a contextual response written by ceramics artist and writer Heidi McKenzie, is forthcoming. 

Grace Nickel is an artist and educator living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her studio practice focuses on sculptural ceramics and installation. She has won awards in international competitions including the Mino International Ceramics Competition in Japan and the Taiwan Ceramics Biennale and has had numerous solo exhibitions in Canada including at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Winnipeg Art Gallery in Manitoba, the Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery in Saskatchewan, and the Art Gallery of Burlington in Ontario. Her work has been widely collected and is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Ceramic Art in Gifu, Japan, the New Taipei City Yingge Ceramics Museum, Taiwan, and the Fule International Ceramic Art Museums project in Fuping, China. Her work has been selected for the Cheongju International Craft Biennale in Korea, and for several NCECA Annual Exhibitions (Philadelphia, Portland). Grace Nickel has completed numerous residencies including at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China and the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta. She held the position of Adjunct Research Fellow at the Curtin University of Technology in Western Australia and has travelled abroad extensively to present lectures, including recent invitations from the Clayarch Gimhae Museum and AK Ceramics Centre in South Korea, and the Australian Ceramics Triennale in Hobart, Tasmania. Nickel received her BFA from the University of Manitoba and MFA from NSCAD University. She is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts and currently teaches as Associate Professor at the University of Manitoba School of Art.



Eruptions will be open for viewing at Gallery 1C03 on weekdays between 12:00 and 4:00 pm from February 17 until March 25, 2022 (closed Louis Riel Day). All visitors must pre-register for an appointment at least 24 hours in advance of their intended visit time here.



Artist talk by Grace Nickel

Presented with Manitoba Craft Council
February 3, 2022, at 7:00 pm CT

Watch Event recording


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