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John McEwen

Genie - Urn (2007)

Love Family Quadrangle.

John McEwen

Corten steel, Algonquin stone base
89" x 26"

Acquired from Olga Korper Gallery
Genie - Urn is part of the series “The Porous Body”

Artist statement:
Sculpture became and remains for me both bridge and anchor in my course through life. The history of the porous body starts with the clay container. It is the fragility and permeability of the clay shell that links vessel with human. We are physical creatures living in a material world

The form for the first two urns was produced by a local potter. A mold was then pulled from that form.

The mold was completely packed with 4” stars that had been welded together. Once out of the mold, there was no container only a porous mass of content.

In the first week of November, the urn was placed in the St. Lawrence River at St. Jean Port Joli. Overnight the porous mass of stars was infiltrated by the tide. When the tide went out the permeated urn was left with a new coat of ice which melted as the day wore on.

In the second urn, small, laser-cut stars formed a porous skin. Whether with fire or water, the inside and outside of the container is complicated.

Held together as though it might be dispersed in an instant, the skin of stars, whether boat or container, is an uneasy vessel. When the bigger rolled stars are used against the same form, the effect suggests that each star has a larger purpose for the vessel.

- John McEwen

Artist perspective courtesy of artist’s website.


John McEwen was born in Toronto in 1945. He currently lives and works in Hillsdale, Ontario.

Co-founder and former director of A Space, John McEwen was honoured in 2007 with a Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of Lethbridge, Alberta. He is recognized both internationally and across Canada for his many site-specific installations and public commissions. In 2019 he was a recipient of the Order of Canada.

Biography courtesy of Olga Korper Gallery.

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