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June 24–September 17, 2017
Curated by Melanie Egan and Robyn Wilcox
June 24 – September 17, 2017
As both a place and an activity, dwelling is defined by its intimacy: it is our proximity and familiarity with places and ideas. This closeness can be a comfort, as well as a source of anxiety – we overthink things beyond utility and we remain until we become restless. In this exhibition, eight artists examine dwelling as both a physical and psychological concept and how that effects our relation to objects, space and the body.
– Melanie Egan & Robyn Wilcox, Curators
Nonserie is a wallpaper constructed with pictorial forms borrowed from 16th– and 17th– century Dutch prints depicting landscapes of the islands now known as Indonesia, combined with decorative cloud forms found on textiles and ceramic objects. These clouds are repeated in the animation, Neither Here Nor There, where they drift back and forth in a loop in front of an ever-shifting and unstable ground. Literal and illusory perspectival shifts are employed in these two works as a means to interrupt and disrupt perception both physically and metaphorically.
These works are parts of an ongoing investigation into ornamentation and decoration as sites of exchange. I am intrigued with the history of printed pictures and their role in the shaping of cultural narratives. Within this vast history, I am particularly interested in popular illustrations, such as those found in picture books and posters, and decorative surfaces, such as textiles and wallpapers, and the ways that these may reveal and reflect cross-cultural overlaps, influences, and contaminations.
– Diyan Achjadi
Diyan Achjadi’s work examines historical prints and surface ornamentation, tracing narratives of cross-cultural imaginings, influences and contaminations, re-translating and reinterpreting them through drawing, printmaking and animation. Achjadi received a BFA from the Cooper Union (New York, NY) and an MFA from Concordia University (Montreal, QC). She has exhibited widely at galleries and film festivals across Canada and beyond. In October 2016 her work was featured in the Richmond Art Gallery exhibition Diyan Achjadi and Shawn Hunt: Cultural Conflation. Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, Achjadi currently resides in Vancouver, BC, where she is an Associate Professor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
These days I am dwelling on subtleties, small gestures, vignettes of thought and floating fragments. I have put myself on a rigorous research into minimizing, simplifying and stripping down to essentials in different aspects of my life, mainly in my art. It has not been easy. But I think I have managed to crack the code with these collage works. The attention here is on these very small fragments that are simple, minimal yet still possessing rich characters.
– anahita azrahimi
anahita azrahimi is a Toronto based visual artist and arts manager. She divides her time between her art practice and as Executive Director of Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition.
She is fascinated by essence and complexities of clothing and folds and their relationship to body and emotions. She cuts out shapes and patterns of folds and draperies found in fashion editorials and create bodily motion and drama in abstract form or imaginary landscapes without directly referencing the body. Since December 2015, she has put herself on a rigorous, year-long #collagediet and research. Her dense and colorful collage explorations are now reduced to subtle and minimal narratives and vignettes. azrahimi’s works are held in private collections across Europe and North America.
Helen Liene Dreifelds
Curtains create flexible passageways that blur public and private spaces. I am interested in how these everyday textiles become active participants in experiences of connection between people, the interior self and the architectural site. Looking to Venetian blinds, vinyl car wash panels, partitions, apartment window drapes and shades, I have come to understand these institutional textiles as temporary screens, continuously responding to environmental and human interactions.
–Helen Liene Dreifelds
Helen Liene Dreifelds is an emerging artist currently pursuing the Artist-in-Residence program at Harbourfront Centre’s Craft & Design Studio. Through the language of string and handwoven textiles, she builds installations, open-form sculptures and wall-based works in an effort to prolong the emotional and physical experience of change. Dreifelds holds a DEC in Constructed Textiles from the Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles (2014) and a BA in Applied Human Sciences with a minor in Art History from Concordia University (2009). She has attended workshops at Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Deer Isle, ME, and the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn, NY.
My work is interested in the interplay between the human body and space. Influenced by the language and representations of anatomy, biology and medical imaging, I examine how these representations can translate such an intimate space. How are we to understand our own self-structures through these translations, and what does the re-imagined body mean to us? The forms I make often draw parallels from architecture through their relationships between negative/position spaces and interior/exterior to help realize a “sense of place.” By the process of slip-casting porcelain, I combine structural elements with organic allusions to the body’s interior. My work explores the fragmented body on display, while also considering the boundaries, connections, and containment of our own internal dwelling.
– Stephanie Flowers
Stephanie Flowers is a ceramic-based artist living in Montreal. She received her BFA at OCAD University where she majored in Sculpture & Installation and minored in Material Art & Design. Recent exhibitions include her solo exhibition at Medalta, Craft Ontario, and the Gardiner Museum for the launch event of their First Position Patrons Circle. She has completed residencies at the Drake Hotel (Toronto), Alfred University (New York State), and most recently was a year-long Artist-in-Residence at Medalta (Medicine Hat, AB). Her work has been supported with grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Fusion Clay and Glass Association.
I employ a diverse array of material processes and conceptual approaches—including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, sewing, weaving, as well as writing—in order to convey the poetics of my lived experiences. As such, I seek beauty in my surroundings and take pleasure in the respite it affords me. I am a proponent of decorative repetition, I champion the power of colour to stir emotions, and I swoon over the use of florid language that elicits forgotten moments or evokes scenes just barely remembered. For the past fifteen years I have made work in relation to public accounts of personal tragedy, and private tales of public spectacle. More recently, however, I have turned my attention inward, drawing meaning from my private life and the domestic struggles that ensue in the space of my home.
Michelle Forsyth holds an MFA from Rutgers University and a BFA from the University of Victoria. Her work has been included in exhibitions at venues including: Mulherin + Pollard (New York, NY); Zaum Projects (Lisbon, Portugal); Pentimenti Gallery (Philadelphia, PA); Auxiliary Projects (Brooklyn, NY); The Hunterdon Museum of Art (Clinton, NJ); The Charleston Heights Arts Center (Las Vegas, NV); Deluge Contemporary Art (Victoria, BC); and Mercer Union (Toronto, ON). She has been the recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts (Ottawa, ON), Artist Trust (Seattle, WA), and was awarded the Larry Sommers Memorial Fellowship (Seattle Print Arts, WA).
Still Life is an arrangement of embroidered houseplants and small objects from my home. It continues a series of work where I have been documenting my home in thread. I render solid objects from my apartment and make them flat and transparent through my embroidery technique. These works are made out of thread by sewing into fabric that dissolves in water. Through this process, I can build up stitched lines on a temporary surface. The crossing threads create strength so that when the fabric is dissolved, so that the thread drawing can hold together without a base.
This piece is meant to draw attention to the fragile nature of the spaces we call “home.”
– Amanda McCavour
Amanda McCavour holds a BFA from York University where she studied drawing and in May 2014 she completed her MFA at Tyler School of Art. McCavour shows her work in galleries nationally and internationally with solo exhibitions in 2017 in Seattle (WA), Okotoks (AB), Brantford (ON) and St. Catherines (ON). She has received awards and scholarships from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, The Handweavers and Spinners Guild of America, Craft Ontario, The Ontario Society of Artists, The Surface Design Association and The Embroiderers Guild of America. McCavour is an alumni of the Artist-in-Residence program at Harbourfront Centre.
Part of an ongoing effort to depict our human relationship to the earth; recent work in ceramic sculpture takes inspiration from mine sites. Through anthropomorphism and humour these three-dimensional works depict the signs of human activity at the earth’s surface. Just as distant mining environments with their scattered industrial structures show only the evidence of human endeavor; likewise, these sculptures act as signs. Here, however, through the process of anthropomorphism, they take this a step further; enacting human gesture, establishing physical relationships and channeling sensory perception. Leaning toward each other with leg-like appendages or confronting one another via facial-like extensions; the human characteristics given to these built forms allow them to stand-in for and inform the viewer about shared human experience.
– Suzanne Nacha
Suzanne Nacha is an artist working in sculpture, painting and animation. Her work is imbued with a unique visual language informed by her experiences mapping the far-reaches of Canada, creating geologic maps that span the earth’s continents and the study of structural geology. She has exhibited in Canada, the US and Europe, and is represented in public collections including the Department of Foreign Affairs and the National Bank of Canada. She has taught visual art at OCAD, Sheridan/UTM and York University and for the past fifteen years has worked in the mining industry mapping geographies of fortune and need.
These works address the objects we collect within our most intimate surroundings – our living spaces. Toys are the perfect vehicle to describe this cultivation: as children, we all experience cherishing a plaything above all other possessions. The way we age alongside these objects allows them to become useless, idolized, and distorted with nostalgic memory. By casting these 90’s toys, Bop-Its, in porcelain, they are rendered impractical, while simultaneously becoming imbued with value in their new porcelain forms. Regenerating these items immortalizes them, and pinpoints how object-oriented memories often become more significant and nebulous than the objects themselves. Sliced fragments of these casts ask after the deconstruction and recreation of not only our possessions, but ourselves. Hanging as if from hooks in a home, these sculptures cross-examine the value of small objects, how we love them and leave them, and their worth after we have outgrown them.
Jocelyn Reid is a ceramic and mixed-media artist from Calgary. Reid has participated in multiple artist in residence programs, including at the Archie Bray Foundation (Helena, Montana), and Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Centre (Skælskør, Denmark). Reid has exhibited throughout North America, Europe, and Australia, and recently completed a solo exhibition, What Can No Longer Bear Our Weight, at the Yuill Gallery (Medicine Hat, AB). Reid has been the recipient of multiple awards, including an Alberta Foundation for the Arts Grant, supporting her year-long Residency at Medalta in Medicine Hat, where Reid currently lives and works.