Much earlier than the Arts & Crafts Movement, Medieval manuscripts were intentionally loaded with symbolic ornament and purpose, very much with the intent of pushing a moral agenda. Montgomery pushes back. She says, “My recent Neo-Istoriato series re-imagines Italian Maiolica ceramics and Medieval manuscript illustrations to create narratives, myths, and cautionary tales. My imagery and forms explore pagan rituals, animal archetypes, modes of power, and encounters with the dead or supernatural to highlight the persistent tensions with monarchy, colonialism and feminism that continue to perpetuate destruction and inequality on Earth. The Istoriato, or ‘story painted’ vessel from Renaissance Italy provided an opportunity to reclaim a device that propagated patriarchal [and] classical, social norms.” Once again, we receive the delicious gift of an artist capitalizing on a pluralist perspective.
Montgomery works across a variety of media. She looks not only to ceramics, but also to painting and puppetry to create narrative videos, performances, and objects. She earned a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and received her MFA from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. Her work has been exhibited in Canada and internationally, with exhibitions at The Gardiner Museum for Ceramics, The Archie Bray Foundation, and The National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Helen Copeland Memorial Award, The Joyce Carlyle Memorial Scholarship in the Crafts Endowment, and an individual project grant from The Canada Council for the Arts. She lives and works in Toronto, and is currently an assistant professor at Concordia University in Montreal.
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