Biography

Also see Grace Nickel’s Résumé

Grace Nickel portrait

Grace Nickel has a BFA in Ceramics from the University of Manitoba in Canada and received her MFA from NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her work is internationally recognized and she has received numerous awards in overseas competitions, as well as Manitoba Arts Council and Canada Council arts awards.

In 1989, Nickel won the Bronze Award at the 2nd International Ceramics Competition in Mino, Japan. She has also had works accepted into The Fletcher Challenge Ceramics Award in Auckland, New Zealand and was shown in the 1992 International Invitational Exhibition of Ceramic Art in Taipei, Taiwan where her work was purchased for the National Museum of History. In 1993 she participated in Selected Treasures, an exhibition organized by the Canadian Craft Museum in Vancouver, which traveled to Taipei, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Chicago and Toronto. In the summer of 1999, Grace traveled to Australia where she was invited to demonstrate her work in paper clay and to present a lecture at Edge, the 9th National Ceramic Conference in Perth. While there, she participated in several exhibitions that took place in conjunction with the conference. In 2000 Nickel won a Judge’s Special Award in the prestigious Sixth Taiwan Golden Ceramics Awards competition. The Taipei County Yingge Ceramics Museum subsequently purchased Nickel’s award-winning piece for its permanent collection. In 2002 the Winnipeg Art Gallery nominated Nickel for the Saidye Bronfman Award, the most prestigious award for fine craft in Canada.

Nickel’s work appears in many public and private collections around the world. In Canada her work is included in the Claridge Collection in Montreal, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Manitoba Arts Council and the Government of Manitoba collection. Her work also appears in a number of corporate collections including the Blue Cross, Cambrian Credit Union, and the new Manitoba Hydro headquarters in downtown Winnipeg.

Butterfly Column

Grace has completed a number of architectural installations, including Meditation Window at the St. Norbert Arts Centre in Manitoba in 1992, Sanctuary, a piece created for NCECA in Minneapolis, USA in 1995 and A Quiet Passage, a solo exhibition held at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 2002. Nickel also works on site-specific commissions for public and private architectural spaces. In 1996 she completed a commission of 16 light sconces for a private cabin in the Lake of the Woods, Ontario and in 1999 she created a site-specific tile triptych in honour of the Pan Am Games, which were held in Winnipeg that year. She is currently creating a grouping of commemorative porcelain trees for the new Beechwood National Memorial Centre in Ottawa.

She has participated in three Ceramic Residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Banff, Alberta. She has been an Artist In Residence on a number of occasions, including at Curtin University in Perth, Australia as a Visiting Research Fellow in 1999, at the University of Manitoba in 2001 and at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 2002, in conjunction with her solo exhibition A Quiet Passage. In 2003 she was invited to participate in the International Large Outdoor Ceramic Lantern Residency in Taiwan, that culminated in the Taipei County Yingge Ceramic Festival and an exhibition of the work created in the residency. In 2007, Nickel was one of ten Canadian ceramic artists invited to participate in a residency in Fuping, China. The Canadian contingent of artists spent the month of October creating work for the new Canadian Ceramic Museum in Fuping, one of numerous museums being built under the auspices of the FLICAM (Fule International Ceramic Art Museums) project on the site of the Fuping Pottery Art Village. The works completed by this charter group of Canadian artists for the inaugural exhibition will remain permanently on view in the Canadian Ceramic Museum.

In addition to her studio practice in Winnipeg, Nickel has taught ceramics for many years. While at NSCAD University from 2006 to 2008, she engaged in various teaching assistantships as a graduate student. Nickel has also taught specialized workshops across Canada and abroad. In January 2009, she was appointed a full-time position in Ceramics at the University of Manitoba.

Life and Death Columns

Nickel has also worked as an arts administrator throughout her career. For eight years she assisted with fundraising for Art City, an innovative community studio located in Winnipeg’s inner-city. Nickel is a past director of MAWA, Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art, and has worked as a mentor for its Foundation Advisory Program several times. She sat on the Programming Committee of the Manitoba Crafts Council for several years, and has been asked to be an advisor and a juror for the Manitoba Arts Council on numerous occasions.

Summary: 2008/2009

From February until May 2008 Nickel participated in a group exhibition called “Subconscious City” at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Her solo exhibition called “Devastatus Rememorari” at the Mary E. Black Gallery in Halifax, Nova Scotia ran from April 11 to May 25, 2008. In June, she taught an Architectural Ceramics Workshop at MISSA, Robin Hopper’s summer school in Metchosin on Vancouver Island. Work for a public commission at the Beechwood National Memorial Centre began in July 2008. This installation is scheduled to be unveiled in June 2009. In January 2009, Nickel began a full-time teaching appointment in Ceramics at the University of Manitoba. She will be having a solo exhibition opening on May 1, 2009 at the new Art Gallery in the Park in Altona, Manitoba, where “Devastatus Rememorari” and some of her architectural works with clay and glass will be shown. In November 2009, she will be showing with fellow ceramic artists Sandra Black from Australia and Trudy Golley from Red Deer, Alberta in an exhibition called “Northern Lights, Southern Exposure” at Perth Galleries in Western Australia.