Located at the top of the curly stairs in The Forks Market, the Jordan Van Sewell Gallery offers an enchanting perspective of the world through colourful ceramic sculpture. The artiste has been at his craft for five decades.
“Where does he get his crazy ideas?” or “What the heck was he thinking?” are likely to be among the reactions of many a gallery visitor, as is “I really like his stuff!” Jordan Van Sewell is just fine with those comments.
“In my artist role, I question society. Society’s role is not to question the artist. It’s society’s role to then question society. If I am able to set up that dialogue through my work, then that’s a good thing,” says Jordan.
By the time he got to university, Jordan had created an all encompassing “World of the Newt” – replete in jeans, and involved in human activities. The personification of the newt became the vehicle and the voice to poke fun at the world. He excels at making ceramic vehicles – both “real” and fantastical, and knows it’s easier to stand at his bench making clay cars than dealing with “real” ones. Also there’s the snakes – a nod to his ancestral great grandparents, who pioneered at Narcisse, MB.
Repeated themes cover – the black dog, the perennial witness; skulls (including his time honoured Pinocchio skulls), and skeletons – reminders of our ever looming mortality and observance of our time here.
Recently inspired by the pandemic, he sees his pieces produced during this period to be among his best, noting that they are intended to reflect optimism and hope for the future.
Jordan’s works are found in public and private collections around the world, including Buckingham Palace.
A 2017 commission called “The Canoes” can be seen in The Common at The Forks Market.