Clint Neufeld makes ethereally beautiful car engines, transmissions, and other mechanical components out of cast ceramic that is decorated and displayed like fine china. In his work, he aims to investigate notions of labour and beauty as they intersect in memory and the contemporary imagination.
Over the past few years, Neufeld has been working with mechanical equipment and tools, casting them in delicately painted ceramic, porcelain or wax and staging them on domestic furniture and parlor accoutrements. Divested of their functionality and steely power, the fundamental nature of these utilitarian devices shifts as they become strange objects of beauty meant for contemplation.
Engines hold a significant place in the collective memory of our car-centric society, evoking inherited perceptions of masculinity. By altering their materiality, Neufeld subverts their masculine character and the inherent connotations they hold as meaningful cultural objects. Furthermore, the mechanical parts the artist selects predominantly date from the 1950s and 60s, a time when nothing was yet digitally controlled and everything could be fixed with the right knowledge and a few tools. Triggering private associations, the sculptures allow for a moment of unlikely intimacy, becoming vessels of memory connecting personal and collective histories.
Neufeld received his MFA at Concordia University in 2009. He has exhibited his work across Canada in museums such as Koffler Gallery, Mendel Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Grande Prairie and in the acclaimed “Oh Canada” exhibition curated by Denise Markonish at MASS MoCA – the largest survey of contemporary Canadian art ever produced outside of Canada. Neufeld’s work is included in private and public collections such as the Claridge Collection, the Donovan Collection and the Mendel Art Gallery. Clint Neufeld lives near the town of Osler, Saskatchewan.
Fait main / Hand Made, group exhibition
Musée National Des Beaux-Arts Du Québec
More than 40 Canadian artists from Vancouver to Halifax have been assembled in this sweeping exhibition. promises a brilliant overview of a significant segment of contemporary output in Canada.