Artist Statement 

  Humans have a complicated relationship with their physical bodies. My work explores this idea, specifically the denial of this physicality that was prevalent in my Catholic upbringing, while simultaneously asserting the body’s messy and powerful presence. This work is influenced by the history of Christianity, martyrdom, and the monstrous. Like the fragmentation of the martyred body, the monstrous body exhibits dissolution of parts, and shows in its disquieting form, hybridization, lack and excess. My work also addresses the hierarchical beliefs around nature in which we categorize, consume and attempt to control the natural world. Using re-purposed commercial plaster molds as well as hand-made molds cast from found toy animals, knick-knacks, and religious statues, I re-compose objects that upon closer inspection reflect an unsettling manipulation of human and animal bodies.

            Recently I have been wrapping animal forms in damp porcelain sheets – binding, bandaging the figures, and contemplating the intentions of these gestures. Inspired by visits to the Ohio State Agricultural Fair in Columbus, where farm animals were clothed in protective fabrics, tethered tightly to posts, awaiting exhibition and judging, I have begun assembling my own slip-cast menagerie, in which I play with forms of domestication, sanitation and restraint. Through the use of animal forms I explore ideas of repression, confinement, and torture, the animals becoming a metaphor for our relationships with others, and how we understand ourselves.


Janet Macpherson began studying ceramics at Sheridan College in 1999 while living in Toronto, Ontario.  For six years she maintained a studio practice in Toronto, making functional ceramics, participating in exhibitions, and selling her work at various Toronto galleries.  

In 2008 she began her MFA in ceramics at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio where she explored a more figurative approach to ceramics.  She has shown her new work extensively in exhibitions across Canada and the United States.

Janet held an artist-in-residence/faculty position at Sheridan College in the 2012 Fall Semester, and was an artist in residence at the Harboufront Centre in Toronto from 2011 - 2014. In 2013 she was the recipient of the Winifred Shantz Award for Ceramics, given by Clay and Glass Gallery in Waterloo, Ontario, and in 2014 she was artist in residence at the Zentrum Fur Keramik in Berlin, Germany.

In 2016 Janet was commissioned by the Gardiner Museum of Ceremic Art in Toronto to create a solo exhibition that responded to Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation. The project consisted of four sculpture / audio installations and three video works by Toronto artist Renée Lear. A Canadian Bestiary opened February 2017.

Janet has work in the collection of the Gardiner Museum of Ceremic Art in Toronto, ON, and the Burlington Arts Centre in Burlington, ON. She lives and works in Hamilton, ON.

Janet would like to acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, The Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council.



Solo Exhibitions

2018         Tethered, Slate Fine Art Gallery, Regina, SK

2017         Bestiary, curated by Mary Bradshaw, Yukon Arts Centre, Whitehorse, YK

2017         A Canadian Bestiary, curated by Karine Tsoumis, Gardiner Museum of Ceramics, Toronto, ON

2015         Mirabillia, Verso Gallery, Toronto, ON 

2014         Processional, The Sculpture Centre, Cleveland, OH

2013         Decoy, Slate Fine Art Gallery, Regina, SK 

2003       The Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art Award Exhibition, George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto, ON    

Selected Group Exhibitions


Upcoming - The Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World, curated by Elizabeth Morrison, The J.Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA

Upcoming - This land like a mirror turns you inward, collaboration with Magdolene Dykstra, Truckstop Gallery, Minneapolis, MN


The Diana Reitberger Collection, curated by Sequia Miller, The Gardiner Museum, Toronto, ON (cat.)

Crosscurrents: Clay as Culture, NCECA Emerging Artist Exhibition, NCECA Conference, Pittsburgh, PA


Canadian Craft Biennial, Burlington Art Gallery, Burlington, ON

fête: 50 Years of Sheridan's Craft and Design Program, Living Arts Centre, Mississauga, ON


Episode, Curated by Linda Swanson, 2nd Virginia McClure Ceramic Biennale, Galerie McClure, Montreal, QC (cat.)


NCECA Biennial, juried by Jo-Ann Conklin, Linda Christianson, Anders Ruhwald, David Wintonbell Gallery, Providence, RI (cat.)

Stopping By Woods, curated by Patrick Macauley, Harboufront Centre, Toronto, ON

Gothic, curated by Denis Longchamps, Burlington Arts Center, Burlington, ON

Wilder Than Me, with Deciduous, Gerard Art Space, Toronto, ON

Fusion Clay and Glass Association Invitational, Wychwood Barns, Toronto, ON


Gathercollaboration with Lindsay Montgomery, Craft Ontario Gallery, Toronto, ON 

Show Off, Craft Corridor Vitrines,  Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, ON


Hot Mud, curated by Denis Longchamps, Burlington Arts Center, Burlington, ON (cat.)

Animal Stories, George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto, ON

Weird, cHarbourfront Centre, Toronto, ON

Monster(osities), Practice Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Capacity: Inspired, The Gladstone Hotel Art Bar, Toronto, ON 


Flight Distance, a collaborative exhibition with glass artist Jesse Bromm,  Craft Corridor Vitrines, Harbourfront Centre

RBC Emerging Artist People’s Choice Award, Gardiner Museum, Toronto, ON

Small Favors, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA

LOOKout, Main Gallery, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, ON


 After the Pedestal, The Sculpture Centre, Cleveland, OH

First Hand, Craft Corridor Vitrines, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, ON

For The Person Who Has Everything, Roy G. Biv Gallery, Columbus, OH


Visiting Artists/Lecturers Exhibition, Hopkins Hall Gallery, Columbus, OH

The Phenomenology of Time, Kuhn Gallery, Marion, OH

MasterPieces, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, OH

Visions in Clay, LH Horton Jr. Gallery, Stockton, CA 

Vox VI, Vox Populi Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

The Seventh Annual Marge Brown Kalodner Graduate Student Exhibition, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA

After the Pedestal, The Sculpture Center, Cleveland, OH

2010 Masters of Fine Arts Exhibition: You and Me and Everyone We Know, Urban Arts Space, Columbus, OH   

National Student Juried Exhibition, University of the Arts’ Rosenwald Wolf Gallery, Pennsylvania, PA     


Art Squatters; An Exhibition of the Students of the Ohio State University Department of Art, Madison’s at 72 North High St., Columbus, OH


It’s a Beauty, curated by Dale Barett, Pearson International Airport, Toronto

Whisper and Clang, curated by Melanie Egan, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, ON

On The Table: 100 Years of Functional Ceramics in Canada, George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto, ON, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS


Celebrating 30 Years of the Ontario Crafts Council, First Canadian Place Gallery, Toronto, ON


Guilty Pleasure, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, ON


Containers of Beauty, George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto, ON


To Dream the Impossible, the Pottery Workshop, Hong Kong, The People’s Republic of China



Canada Council for the Arts, Exploration and Creation Grant 


Ontario Arts Council, Craft Project Grant 


Ontario Arts Council, Craft Project Grant

Best Ceramics, Fusion Clay and Glass Association Invitational Exhibition, Toronto


Toronto Arts Council, Project Grant

Ontario Arts Council, Craft Projects Grant

Craft Ontario, RBC Studio Set-up Award


The Winifred Shantz Award, Clay and Glass Gallery, Waterloo, ON

Canada Council for the Arts, Visual Art Project Grant

Ontario Arts Council, Craft Projects: Individuals Grant

Craft Ontario, Volunteer Committee Emerging Artist Award


Ontario Crafts Council, Tuckers Pottery Supplies Ltd. Clay Supply Grant

Nominated for The 2012 RBC Emerging Artist People’s Choice Award by Steve Heinemann

Best of Category, Ceramics Award, 51st Annual Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition


The David E. Davis Award for Artistic Excellence in After The PedestalThe Sculpture Center


Ontario Arts Council, Craft Projects: Individuals Grant


Ontario Arts Council, Craft Projects: Individuals Grant   


Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art Award,  George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art 


Professional Experience/Residencies

2018-present Part-time Faculty, Sheridan College, School of Crafts and Design, Ceremics Dept., Oakville, ON

2017                  Visiting Artist, University of Regina, Department of Visual Arts, Regina, SK 

2015                  Visiting Artist, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Ceramics Deptartment, Boston, MA

2015                  Arts Facilitator, MabelleArts, Toronto, ON

2015-2016        Part-time Faculty, Sheridan College, School of Crafts and Design, Ceremics Dept., Oakville, ON

2014                  Artist in Residence, Zentrum fur Keramik, Berlin, Germany

2012                  Visiting Artist/Faculty, Sheridan College, School of Crafts and Design, Ceramics Dept., Oakville, ON

2011-2014          Craft Studio Artist in Residence, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, ON   

2010-2011          Lecturer, The Department of Art, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

2008-2010        Graduate Student Instructor, Department of Art, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

2010-2009        Belden Brick Company, Artist-in-Industry, Sugar Creek, OH 



The beasts came marching one by one, Murray Whyte, Toronto Star, E6, Feb. 11, 2017.

Ceramics Whiz brings unlimited imagination to Gardiner exhibit, Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Feb. 8, 2017.

Designlines Magazine, Azure Publishing, Toronto, ON, issue 1, pg 68-69, 2017.

Episode, Exhibition Catalog, essay by Linda Swanson, Galerie McClure, Montreal, pg. 42-55, 2016.

NCECA 2015, Biennial Catalog, pg.40, 2015

Window to Sculpture Series, Exhibition Catalog, essay by Douglas Max Utter, The Sculpture Center, Cleveland, OH, pg 16-17, 2015. 

CAN Journal, Art in Northeast Ohio, Breaking Boundaries at the Sculpture Center, Summer 2014

Studio Magazine, Slice and Porfolio, Spring/Summer 2014

Hot Mud, A National Survey of Contemporary Canadian Emerging Ceramists, Exhibition Catalogue, essay by Rachel Gotlieb, pg20-21, 2013.

Mason Journal, Toronto Offsite Design Festival: Interview with Janet Macpherson, January 2013

Plaid Magazine, The Sculptor Shares how Practice Makes Progress, Winter 2012 Issue

Criticizing Art: Understanding the Contemporary, 3rd Edition, Terry Barrett, McGraw-Hill Higher Education Publishers, Fall 2010

On The Table: 100 Years of Functional Ceramics in Canada, exhibition catalogue, Toronto, Ontario: George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, 2007



Contemporary Ceramics Collection of the Art Gallery of Burlington, Burlington, ON

Contemporary Collection of the George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto, ON



2010     MFA Ceramics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

2002    The School of Crafts and Design, Ceramics, Sheridan College, Oakville, Ontario

1997     BA Philosophy, York University, Toronto, Ontario