Physical Presence | Group Sculpture Exhibition

Martin Hyde
Marney McDiarmid
Patti Normand
Jeannie Pappas

Jul 13 - 27
 Saturday, July 13 @ 3 - 5 pm

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Wall Space Gallery presents “Physical Presence”, a group exhibition celebrating the three-dimensional form, with ceramic and sculptural works by DaumaGosiaMartin HydeMarney McDiarmid, Patti Normand, and Jeannie Pappas. In their unique approaches to the use of clay and mixed media, each of these artists explore personal and community-based narratives through references to nature, the human body, and kitsch pop culture.

Physical Presence Catalogue

Dauma, Marney McDiarmid,
and Patti Normand use surrealism and whimsy to foster avenues for contemplating the human-toll on the environment, the relationships between humans and non-human animals and insects, and how sculpture can lead to empathetic understanding. In her pieces “Negative Nancy” and “with reckless abandon”, Dauma dehumanizes the figure into a stoic vessel for plant life, where the human figure feel almost secondary, falling into a passive role of giving its body to foster imagined
floral growths.

"Through clay, I attempt to express my point of view; my perception of
day-to-day moments, and the memories I carry. Lost between the past, present, and future,
I stumble to make sense of it all and heal. The tactile quality of clay enables me to explore these themes - to try better to understand myself, and the world around me. This is how I reconnect and hold on to the sense of childlike playfulness and curiosity. The pieces I create, and the act of making in and of itself, also serve as a form of escapism. There is comfort in saying things
without any words."

- Dauma

On the flipside, Normand’s anthropomorphic characters combine human bodies, dressed in 1950s era garments, with heads ranging from animal and avian to elements like fire and tornados. Her personification of environmental impacts bring immense, unrelatable aspects of nature, like weather events and wildfires, down to a relatable and empathetic ‘human’ scale.

McDiarmid’s two installations, “There was too much to hold it all” and “What's mine is yours” feature endangered plant species invented by the artist, with their corresponding ‘seeds’ strewn across the earth below. These ceramic seeds
are free for viewers to take, opening the door to community engagement and questions of how art and endangered species exist and circulate within our world.

For the artist, these seeds reflect our human desire to imbue objects with meaning, and the reasons why we choose certain objects to house memories of events, places, and relationships. Often these objects become cherished and protected by us, what would happen to engendered species if we could collectively imbue them with the same significance?

Gosia and Jeannie Pappas both engage with porcelain sculpture to translate their own inner emotions through fictitious figures, taking distinctly different approaches to facial features, body language and their material process. Gosia’s serenely contemplative female figures are smooth and neutral in colour, their material form reflecting their captured moments of introspection.

Gosia’s figures appear as manifestations of inner thought while Pappas creates a window into an alternate universe with creatures that feel partially human, partially ‘other’. They are embroiled in their own roles within their own drama, evident in their titles, such as “The Guardian”, “The Alchemist”, and “The Illusionist”. Pappas’ figures are likewise expressive, but with unsettling toothy-grins and oddly proportioned bodies that house distinct personalities. Their lopsided character is bolstered by Pappas’ use of a ‘pinching’ method and use of rutile washes that accentuate the raw impressions and imperfections created from the artist’s squeezing the clay into shape.

  • Jeannie Pappas, The Illusionist, glass dome, clay, underglaze, flock, 7 1/2 H x 4 x 4 in.
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  • Jeannie Pappas, The Magician, glass dome, clay, underglaze, flock, 7 1/2 H x 4 x 4 in.
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  • Jeannie Pappas, The Phoenix, glass dome, clay, underglaze, flock,7 3/4 H x 4 3/4 x 4 in.
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Martin Hyde’s series of seven porcelain bowls and plates feature surreal combinations of kitsch, popular culture imagery with botany, cowboys, pin-ups, insects and mouse-cursors. Reminiscent of blue-and-white Chinese pottery design popularized in the 14th Century, the traditional and the contemporary collide in Hyde’s blue-decals. Hyde questions where reality truly exists, finding it somewhere between dreams and waking, he manufactures it vividly in the seemingly accidental combination of arbitrary motifs and images. Hyde pulls from structures of cultural knowledge and pleasure including charts and imagery based around zoology, botany, architecture, pornography and mechanics, as well as kitsch symbols of smiley faces, butterflies, and ice cream cones.

Often, Hyde repeats these symbols in a ‘copy-paste’ fashion to the point of absurdity and excess, stripping them of their original reference as they dissolve into aesthetically pleasing pattern. The cowboy and pin-up figure make frequent appearances in Hyde’s motifs. Ranging in representation from stylized to photographic realism he confronts us with the tropes of human sexuality, entertainment, and knowledge. The visceral imagery that Hyde plasters across bowls and dinner plates reveals a darkly-humourous perspective on human consumption of culture.

Physical Presence brings together varying subjects and sculptural processes, each highlighting how the three-dimensional object can express the complexity of existing in the 21st century amongst hyper-reels of culture and shifting environmental landscapes. There’s an innate interest in encapsulating ‘humanness’ across these six artists’ practices, as they engage our bodies with
the presence of earthly material transformed.

- Tiffany April    


Dauma Stirbyte was born and raised in Lithuania. She moved to Ireland in 2007, graduating from the National College of Art and Design in 2016 with a BDes (Hons). She was an international artist in residence at the London Clay Art Centre (Canada) from 2017 to 2020.. In 2018 Dauma was named Best in Show at Fusion’s Emerging Artist exhibition and in 2022 she was selected as a finalist
for the Winifred Shantz Award for Ceramics. Dauma has participated in the UPwithArt Silent Auction and Fundraiser for relief of homelessness in 2018/19 and again in 2022/23/24. She works from her home studio in London, ON.


Gosia was born in Poland in 1982, and moved to Canada in 1994. Her background in illustration from Sheridan
College, and her early career as a painter, have led her to a passion for sculpting. Since fully dedicating herself to this medium in 2013, her sculptural works have been exhibited in galleries across Canada, Europe, and the U.S.
She is currently living and working in Toronto.

Martin Hyde

I question what the (real) world is: is it the one of night-time and dreams, or rather that of the waking state? It’s materialized into odd juxtapositions of disparate objects.

I would like for my artistic vision, along with my humour and verve to stimulate the visceral and prod the intellect. My work is about getting away from the everyday.

Martin Hyde currently lives in Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, France, where he sculpts and paints.

Marney McDiarmid

Marney McDiarmid is a Kingston-based ceramacist working with slab building techniques and whimisical imagery to create conceptual and functional pieces.

Her work has appeared in the Lark book 500 Prints on Clay and in the National Post. In 2017, she was awarded “Best in Show” at the FUSION Clay and Glass exhibit in Toronto. She is a recent recipient of an Ontario Arts Council grant which enabled her travel to Hawaii in the winter of 2020 to research a new body of work. McDiarmid has recently exhibited her ceramics at Wall Space Gallery (Ottawa, ON), Critical Function II - NCECA 2020 at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond (Richmond, VA), Bonspiel (NCECA 2019), the Saskatoon Arts Council (Saskatoon, SK), the FUSION Fireworks! touring exhibition, and in the Lobby Vitrine of the Gardiner Museum (Toronto,ON).

Patti Normand

Patti Normand is a Canadian artist based in Ottawa, Ontario. Her sculptures and dioramas are built using a variety of materials, including HO scale elements and the artist’s own backdrops. Normand is a graduate of OCAD University. In 2016, Normand’s photograph Siesta Motel won an Award of Merit during the SNAP! Contemporary Photo Competition and Auction for the Aids Committee of Toronto. Her work has been purchased by the City of Ottawa Public Collection.

Jeannie Pappas

Jeannie Pappas’ works embody the conflicting psychological and emotional states that we experience. Adopting figurative sculpture, most often in clay porcelain with light washes of underglaze, Pappas evokes the tensions that persist between body and mind, playful and horrible, grotesque and
endearing. Her figures are at once strange and familiar, personal and archetypal, inscrutable and intimate.

Jeannie Pappas currently lives and works in Toronto, ON.