Jewellery Arts prof Paul McClure wins Governor General’s arts award

Paul McClureGeorge Brown Jewellery Arts professor Paul McClure received one of the nation's top honours in visual arts for his body of work—a term that can be used both literally and figuratively to describe his creations inspired by the biology of the human body and medical imaging.

McClure received the Saidye Bronfman Award as part of the 2015 Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts Open New Browser Window. He was among eight artists honoured in a ceremony on April 8 at Rideau Hall and whose work will be displayed at the National Gallery of Canada Open New Browser Window in Ottawa through to August.

"It's a huge honour to be recognized by my peers who were on the jury [of Canadian craft artists]," he said, "but also to be recognized nationally through the Canada Council for the Arts Open New Browser Window and the Governor General's office."

McClure, a professor at George Brown since 2000, received a bronze medallion struck by the Canadian Mint as part of the prize. He noted that it was struck with the same computer modelling program used by his students. Two former Jewellery Arts students work at the Mint as designers, he added.

Biology and art

The inner workings of the human body on the molecular level have influenced much of McClure's work.

"The ideas that I'm working with have continued to inspire me, in particular looking inside of the human body—medical imaging has evolved so much over the last 25 years that it continues to provide new inspiration," he said.

McClure studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, where he originally intended to pursue a career in graphic design. He took an elective course in jewellery arts taught by Martha Glenny, who went on to become a professor at George Brown in 1996. He started teaching at George Brown's Jewellery Arts program in 2000.

The tiny sculptures McClure designs aren't complete until someone wears them, he said.

"What's really interesting about jewellery as an art form—it's quite distinct from other ones—is there are three people involved: the artist, the wearer and the person who's looking at it on the body."

Learn more about George Brown's Jewellery Arts programs.