Neil Liske

Mount Robson is the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies and is nicknamed "The Great White Fright."  An avid mountaineer as well as an artist, Liske created this ceramic wall piece that depicts a mountain he climbed.  Amongst many other adventures, he was one of four men who skied the Great Divide Traverse from Jasper to Lake Louise in 1967 along with Don Gardner, Chic Scott, and Charlie Locke).

Where I go and what I do has been an integral part of my creative process. At one time I would have thought clay a very unlikely medium for landscape work. However, my attraction to the outdoor world, whether climbing a mountain, or windsurfing on a prairie lake, prompted me to explore an expression that would convey some of these experiences that transcend everyday reality.

Textures are easily interrupted in clay, and I have used this aspect of the medium to play with and enhance distance, they also provide a very tactile element which makes the surface on which they are displayed come alive. Glazes have a very unique quality in that they are essentially a glass forming substance. This surface has a depth to it that reflects light and colour in a very rich and vibrant way. My clay landscape, Receding Space, reflects this interest in light.

It has always been a very satisfying and exciting process to unload the kiln in which landscape pieces have been fired and see the transformation from the very pastel flat surfaces to the vibrant colours and contrasts in the finished pieces.

It has taken some time to develop a process whereby I could control the application of glazes. The subject matter is first laid out on watercolour paper, and all the shapes are cut out; glazes are then applied through a masking and spraying technique.

Form is another interest, which is represented by the extruded clay sculpture Reflections. There has always been a zen-like quality to my work, the essence of a form that takes one outside the present, perhaps reflecting my long-history with high-alpine climbing. These works are contemplative, meditative, and quiet, they present the idea of peace and tranquility, just like being on a mountain top.

All of Neil's works are inscribed with the Chinese characters for either Peace or Happiness, it is his way of giving back to the world.


Born: 1936, Goodfare, Alberta

Education: 1965-70, University of Calgary (Master’s Degree in Fine Arts)


1986 to present, Operations of residential studio, Bowness/Calgary, Alberta 1972-86, operation of Clay House, Calgary, Alberta; ceramic instructor, Medicine Hat College; ceramic instructor, University of Calgary.


2011 – Artist’s Visions, Banff Culture Days, Willock & Sax Gallery, Banff
– Clay 2010, Alberta Craft Council Travelling Exhibition, Edmonton
– The Makings, group exhibition, Willock & Sax Gallery, Banff
2009 – Neil Liske: Out of Extremes, Triangle Gallery, Calgary
– Art-O-Rama, Triangle Gallery, Calgary
– Landscape on Clay, Terracotta Gallery, Black Diamond, AB
2005 – Form and Fire, Triangle Gallery, Calgary
- Featured Artist, The Croft, Calgary
– Art Walk, The Croft, Calgary
1998 – Artwalk: Featured Artist, The Croft, Calgary
1997 – The Great Wall, Medicine Hat Museum and Art Gallery, Medicine Hat, AB
1994 – Artists’ Circle of Calgary, Triangle Gallery, Calgary
1993 – Set the Table, Alberta Crafts Council, Edmonton
1989 – Alberta Sculpture: Survey Exhibition, Triangle Gallery, Calgary
1982 – Summer Fest, Edmonton
1980 – Alberta Ceramics Showcase, Travelling Exhibition, Alberta
1976 – Faces of Canada, The Canadian Guild of Crafts, Montreal, PQ
1975 – The History of Ceramics in Alberta, Edmonton
1972 – Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Salute to the Arts, Calgary
– Environment 1971, Jubilee Auditorium, Calgary
– Canadian Ceramics, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, ON
1970 – International Ceramics Exhibition, Citta de Faenza, Italy
1969 – Environment 1969, Jubilee Auditorium, Calgary

Corporate and Public Collections (selected): Calgary – Mount Royal Place; Confederation Park Lodge; Dunphy, Calvery Waller Law Offices; Husky Oil; HMCS Tecumseh Navel Base; Seismic Image Software; Amoco Canada; Mountain Equipment Co-op; Colonel Belcher Hospital; Foothills Hospital; Government House, Edmonton; Fraser, Milner, Casgrain Barristers and Solicitors; Lethbridge – Galt Museum; Medicine Hat District Hospital; Hunting Hills High School, Red Deer.