Mary Lynn Podiluk and Shay Salehi at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Metalanguage, 2012
Teapot of silver plated copper, wengewood, and cork, by Mary Lynn Podiluk. 18.5 x 21 x 7 cm.


Parall(elles): A History of Women in Design
February 18 - May 28, 2023
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts | Musée des Beaux-Arts Montréal

Organized in collaboration with the Stewart Program for Modern Design, this major exhibition celebrates the instrumental role women have played in the world of design through a rich corpus of art works and objects dating from the mid-19th century onwards. In addition, it examines the reasons why women are underrepresented in the history of this discipline and encourages an expanded understanding of what constitutes design.

Artists in this exhibition include Saskatchewan jeweller Mary Lynn Podiluk with her teapot 'Metalanguage' and Ontario glass artist Shay Salehi (currently based in New York).

Pâte de verre bowl, 2022
Shay Salehi

Parall(elles) highlights the breadth and complexity of design pieces made by American and Canadian women by situating these works against the backdrop of social, political and personal issues that shaped their experiences across time. The exhibition also considers the intersectionality of gender, identity, race, culture and class to provide a deeper understanding of the varied roles and achievements of women. It traces the development of educational and professional opportunities available to women, the evolution of the status of crafts and the impact that women’s rights movements had on their practices. Finally, beyond revisiting traditional definitions of “design,” Parall(elles) opens a window onto a world of magnificent beauty and skill.

"Today, women designer-makers are working in a multitude of fields and using a wide variety of materials and techniques, often combining the traditional with the avant-garde. The line between design and fine art becomes increasingly blurred as many women creators incorporate a conceptual approach to the creation of functional objects. The Metalanguage Teapot by [Mary Lynn] Podiluk is a remarkable example of these 21st century developments in women’s design. Created using a combination of traditional goldsmithing and alternative materials and techniques, this work is inspired by the idea of unseen elements such as
sound depicted through a physical object and it explores aspects of language through anatomical form, linguistic textures and acoustic representations. This work would be an integral addition to our exhibition."
- Jennifer Laurent, Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, MMFA

Bringing together close to 250 art works and objects, the exhibition adopts a broad definition of design that extends from artisanal craftwork to industrial design, including ceramics, glass, metalwork, jewellery, textiles, furniture, consumer products, graphics, fashion and interior design.