Ceramic artist Mary Stankevicius arrived at NSCAD never having put her hands in wet clay. That changed during a class in her second year with sculptor Matt Wedel, a visiting artist from Colorado.
"He has this wonderful childish sense of wonder," says Mary, from Orangeville, Ont. "Nothing fazes him. Everything is an awesome challenge."
She’s come to adopt that philosophy as her own in shaping animal sculptures from clay. She started out making dodo birds, rhinos and orangutans—strange looking creatures with voluptuous curves. But recently, while on exchange at the Kansas City Art Institute in Missouri, she was challenged to change her focus to animals from the domestic realm. Her brightly painted ceramic dogs take the form of life-sized sculptures or wall-mounted heads, like hunting trophies.
"The idea is that the audience needs to have more of a relationship with the animal and that’s when I turned to dogs," she explains. "They have such characters and personalities and people really respond to them."
Following graduation, the 23-year-old artist has applied for a year-long artistic residency at Medalta, in Medicine Hat, Alberta’s historic clay district. Beyond that, she wants to apply for grad school—"But I need some time to figure it out."
As her time at NSCAD draws to a close, she says she is grateful for the experience and for the support and encouragement from faculty and staff. "I feel like I was totally pampered here."