In late 2017, ceramic artist Karisa Evdokimoff was busy getting her affairs in order and even got rid of half her belongings in preparation for an artist’s residency in Australia. Then, the night before her flight, she was hit by a car.
Evdokimoff, who hails from Vancouver, suffered a brain injury in the incident. She was forced to cancel the Australian residency and has been “adjusting back into life and being a functioning human” ever since.
But as one artistic opportunity vanished, another presented itself – since last fall Evdokimoff has been the artist-in-residence at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts and she has since made the Harbour City her permanent home.
“When one door closes, another one opens. And there are those moments in life where you just really can’t question it,” she said. “And I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to do this. I’m going to come here’ … and it’s been such a blessing.”
Evdokimoff said working with clay has had a “meditative and grounding and very healing” effect. She was drawn to the medium because of its versatility and the “magic” of creating art from earth.
“You’re working with the Earth and the energy of the Earth to create these pieces and I love that and it’s just endless possibilities,” she said. “You can roll out a slab of clay and use it as a canvas or you can mould a sculpture, you can make a mug – you can literally do anything.”
From April 27 to May 20 Evdokimoff will be presenting her first solo show, Beneath the Surface, at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts. To her, the exhibition is all about the people who helped support her and her thanks for being alive.
“This show represents so much more than a new body of work, but yes I will be giving a very brief artist statement and saying ‘thank you.’ I definitely will not hold it together, but I don’t believe in keeping it together so I’m OK with that,” she said.
Beneath the Surface features sculptures and vessels that explore the interconnectedness of the natural world. It’s a topic Evdokimoff’s always found fascinating and calming.
“I use a lot of texture in my work and a lot of very intricate techniques and that reflect visually a lot of the things I see [in nature],” she said. “Things that you wouldn’t notice at first glance.”
Evdokimoff said it feels vulnerable to be displaying her work on her own for the first time, but she said that’s a good thing.
“Doing things that make me feel vulnerable or take me outside of my comfort zone help me grow and transform immensely and I actually really strive to put myself in situations like that,” she said. “Get uncomfortable and the next day you’ll be like, ‘Wow, OK, I did that, what else am I going to do today? What’s going to help me carry me towards my highest purpose?”
WHAT’S ON … Opening reception for Beneath the Surface, by Karisa Evdokimoff, takes place at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts, 1-140 Wallace St., on Saturday, April 27 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Show continues until May 20.