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Item Name: Painting
Title: Untitled
Maker: Donovan Chester
Year: n.d.
Country: Canadian
Materials: Enamel and oil on paper
Measurements: overall: 42 cm x 35.2 cm
ID Number: PC97.8

Extended Label Info: Though undated, this work on paper by Don Chester is similar to his drawings from 1968 that are held in the Saskatchewan Arts Board Collection and was part of Chester's first solo exhibition of drawings and paintings, which took place at Dunlop Art Gallery in 1969. In this series of images, Chester takes a Minimalist approach to the disciplines of drawing and painting, breaking them down into their essential elements of surface, pigment, and colour. Minimalist work seeks to expose the essence or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts. Though Don Chester began as a painter, in the 1970s he began to specialize in ceramics. Chester’s current focus is Raku ware, a type of clay and method of firing first developed in 16th century Japan, characterized by hand-molding clay, firing at low temperatures, and removing the pieces from the kiln while still glowing hot. In contemporary “Western” Raku firing, the red-hot clay is placed into containers of combustible materials, which blackens any raw clay and interacts with the glaze surface, making each piece unique in shape and colour. Both Chester’s early work and his current sculptural Raku-ware share a formal approach to making aesthetic work, focused on the material qualities of the mediums he uses to create his artwork. Donovan Chester (1940 - ) Born near Carievale, SE Saskatchewan, Don Chester studied at the University of Saskatchewan’s Regina Campus from 1963 - 68 in the College of Education, and the College of Arts, Department of Visual Arts. Chester studied with other influential artists such as Regina-based ceramicist Jack Sures; the New York-based minimalist sculptor Mike Stiener; and the master of California Funk art, William T. Wiley. Chester worked for Dunlop Art Gallery as assistant curator for a term, before joining the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Regina as an instructor. He served as Studio Head for the Extension Department’s ceramics studio for 12 years, leaving in 1987 to establish a full-time art practice and ceramics studio. Chester's art work has exhibited nationally and is held in numerous public and private collections, including the Canada Council Art Bank, Musee du Quebec, Saskatchewan Arts Board, and the Saskatchewan Craft Council.