Sunday, December 17, 2006

EVERYDAY recent work, Lynne Heller

EVERYDAY recent work, Lynne Heller at the Rebecca Gallery 317 Grace street Toronto, Ontario, November 25- December 23, 2006.

Lynne Heller has, with this current exhibition, stepped away from textiles and is showing us ceramic tile, glass, epoxy resin, paper and the computer monitor that you see in this show. It is easy to say she has created a series of images and designs placed them on a variety of surfaces along with sculptural and animated versions of these designs. There are two distinct bodies of work on display; both are a seamless continuance of her well established play with scale in a theme and variation approach.

The work produced by this artist becomes more intriguing as time goes by. With 115 unused quilts she has transformed source material into a short hand of what has become a recognizable textile vocabulary

double wedding ring: 5" h X 41/4 " w, fabric cutwork, embroidery.
115 unsed quilts

With each show, this vocabulary has become larger and more defined; structure, surface design, and construction technique have become media in and of themselves. The source material remains within the ever expanding domestic realm (the territory art historically relegated to female artists). All these elements carry with them a history, and a contextualized malleability applicable to the end presentation. Throughout her twenty year career she has become a skilled computer technician in terms of the machine and software transformative and reintegration use. She uses anything at hand with virtuosic skill.

In the front room there is a tiled wall, a toilet, martini glasses and a computer. The image or “design” theme is flowers, “Pillflowers”, reminiscent of Purple Cone flowers (Echinacea), cornflower or your basic daisy, are made up of pills

pillflower 2006

This work has developed from an initial response to spam. In an installation in one of the Vitrines at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre (Tekhne, Uncommon Objects, May 2004) she displayed a pile of colour paper sorted into percentages of lifestyle drugs (penile dysfunction and antidepressants) offered in the enormous amount of spam she received. The present exhibit appears to be the next step or version of her need to represent this cultural phenomenon.

In the back room there are large giclée (digital) prints on rag paper, the images are of flowers and insects; the scale is over sized. Squash flowers look like life-sized ball gowns made of raw silk, Their colour, texture and drape is mesmerizing. With the flower is a fly: the size of a kitten--a bit disconcerting but oddly beautiful, and evocative of a bygone glamour. This collection of “extreme” scans, limited edition prints measures 40 by 60 inches. In most cases Lynne Heller plays with scale to draw attention an almost unnatural natural world. She is a Focus Puller able to show us the everyday in a different and more seductive way.

Still # 2, 2005, 40"w X 60"h, gicilee print, scanned objects
edition of 10

In an essay accompanying this exhibition, Gil McElroy writes of the installation of the Pillflower wall “…she re-imagines the elemental (and, critically, the pliant) grid that is the warp and weft of fibre as an inflexible (and so a markedly fragile) grid of ceramic tile – you know your basic bathroom wall- that sports a decorative motif of what initially appears as flowers…The traditional floral patterns common to the quilt (or, really, virtually any textile) are given a uniquely contemporary reinterpretation,…The notion of physical comfort integral to, say, a quilt is denied by cold ceramic tile and in any event has become in our society of speed, a thing we encapsulate and internalize_ become, in essence, something we swallow to alter our beingness biochemically.” I believe it isn’t necessary to equate the final presentation back to grounding in the Textile vocabulary; it seems an excuse rather then an explanation.

The language of computer operations is loaded with textile words and the fact that the reality of structure and surface design are applicable to all tactile creative output doesn’t have to be re examined when looking at the work of textile artist who work beyond the confines actual cloth. To do so only focus on the still tentative hold textiles have in the “fine” or rather art historical discourse. It is with a continuing fascination with Lynne Heller’s constant leaps in reinvention of basic concepts of the domestic sphere that brings me to each showing of her work. I am always rewarded with a new intriguing experience.

websites for this posting

Lynne Heller

Rebecca Gallery

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