Friday, March 06, 2009

Thursday March 5, 2009, Fibre Night in Canada


2008 a year in textiles
Newest issue of fibreQUARTERLY is now on-line
Volume 5 Issue 1/ Winter 2009


5: pm Majic Pony, 7: pm The Liberty Grand, 8:30 pm Gallery 1313

Noel Middleton"s mixed media creatures

I was on my way to the Liberty Grand down in Exhibition Place for the opening night party for The Artist Project and dropped into Magic Pony on Queen west for a look around. In the backroom Gallery there where two of Noel Middleton"s mixed media creatures I had seen these pieces last year in a show at the Gladstone and in some ways they remind me of Nick Cave’s Sound Suits, but much more rough and primitive [ no velvets and sequence on these]

This work of Noel Middleton's is made of natural and human manipulated wood. The first pieces I saw were large found crochet creatures, he is using more wood and things found in the woods, pine needles and cones. the "face" made of dried fungus burs pine needles acorn caps it is creepy and amazing work. I took some pictures and went on my way.

7: pm The Liberty Grand, Exhibition Place, The Artist Project,March 5-8, 2009.

The second Artist Project {art fair] at the Liberty Grand has four “Textile” artist in it: Lorraine Roy Booth 609, a quilter from Dundas, Carmella Karijo Rother, Booth 706 an other quilter from Ottawa, Lynn Blaikie from Whitehorse, YT in Booth 215, and Amy Gillesspie from Arlington, MA, USA in booth 205. In the Untapped Emerging Artist area two more can more textile people where found. There was Kate Jackson, an embroiderer from Toronto, in U-15 and the soft object maker Catherine Trelford-Keogh in U-1, while looking around I discovered a fifth Tracy Martin, Sculpture Knitter from Barrie Ontario in booth 315.

Carmella Karijo Rother in booth 706

To get right to the point, i didn't see Lynn Blaikie, thou I know her Batik work well having seen it first in the Yukon in 2001, I did meet her at the Christmas One of a Kind Show. so I will make a few comments about what I did see starting with Catherine Trelford-Keogh

If you have left your house any time in the last six months you have seen Catherine Trelford-Keogh's pile of caps at fibreworks 2008 in Cambridge, at the Gladstone at some point and most recently in the DIWhy exhibition at the Ontario Craft Council. this weekend you can see her "collars" Some where between a Elizabethan Ruff and a clown collar with aspirations towards Jean Paul Gaultier, Catherine Trelford-Keogh's colourful cloth fashion absurdities where accompanied by a video performance of the collars being worn, this piece unlike the" Pile of Hats" piece of the last few shows you weren't encouraged to play with them (not I saw anybody touch the hats)

Ruffs with video

Lorraine Roy

Lorraine Roy's booth was resplendent in her densely embellished pictorial surfaces are created by piecing and layering pattern cloth transport organza coloured tulle and netting to present her vision of nature. These are very beautiful works abstract emotional and finely executed, her new pieces are a major yet subtle leap forward in her exploration of the picture plain, and skill.

Carmella Karijo Rother

I have seen Rother's work a few times in Toronto in the past two years, and I can see it is also in a state of transition. From a scattering of different coloured rectangular blocks stitched floating over a tonal pieced backing she is now working in pieced strips of selvage building a multi-coloured surface which is quilted with a gently wave curvilinear line, this work is very simple and elegant, her colour pairing is intriguing and far from expected, cool with cold the contrasting, the piecing and quilting working in counter rhythms.

[ I have no pictures of this work yet but you can visit her website, listed below or any of Kate's new work]

Kate Jackson’s newest work has her layering different types of old slightly yellowed lace over white eyelet cloth building a “white work” surface onto which she does her embroidery. this work is then stretched over a 3 inch deep frame giving them a feeling of sculpted fondant covered blocks of wedding cake. These pure or “virginal” objects, for that is what the under framing has done to these otherwise flat surfaces embroidered with her military/ toy soldiers come to life imagery seem to point into a new direction for Jackson, the “bridal” aspects marred by violence leave an feeling of disquiet that makes this work more mature. She has taken a shtick she has worked with since leaving OCAD in the confines of the Harbourfront Centre Textile studio and develop an eloquent voice in both material manipulations and a political/ cultural agenda which does speak out strongly from the deceptive ‘girlish” frippery of lace and “Peek –a- Boo”.

Lorraine Roy, Carmella Karijo Rother and Kate Jackson now stretch and frame their work as to avoid the confusion of it being Craft rather then Art,

Tracey Martin

fluffy spiral Tracy Martin,

The Extra at the party slipped in under the category of Sculpture is Tracey Martin from Barrie Ontario, who proudly identifies herself as a Sculptor Knitter. Having received a textile arts education at Georgian College in the work she is showing at the Liberty Grand she has in the most basic terms slip covered her metal work. It is fun, whimsical and perhaps a bit silly, but it is also starkly modern As Allyson Mitchell can take an crocheted toilet roll cover and put it along with numerous crocheted and knitted object into the Textile Museum of Canada, a black fake fur slip covered coiled metal strap can subvert the accepted traditional Maleness of Metal Sculpture. Think of Richard Serra’s “Slice”, while giving strength to “soft” sculpture traditions, a none gender identified media, though Claus Oldenburg comes to mine instantly when you bring up “Soft Sculpture”. I saw his Hamburger at the AGO in the mid Seventies.

One piece I found very striking was the 4 inch wide sanded stainless steal ring with a knitted red interior lining. This was my fist time encountering her work and I intended to watch for it, the energy / tension played with by amalgamating the hard and the soft is not new but her way of doing it is attention grabbing to say the least.

8:30 pm.
Having quickly found these five artist in amongst the painters and other object d’Art I headed over to Gallery 1313 for my finial viewing of the night.

My Pretties: by White Feather from east cost opened at gallery 1313 in the window space,

My Pretties: by White Feather from east cost opened at gallery 1313 in the window space, at this central Parkdale in the west end at 1313 Queen Street West.

“These doll-creatures explore areas of meaning where creativity, spirituality/magic and corporeality overlap. I’ve been fascinated by the persistence of superstition and its symbolism despite an increasingly scientific awareness of the world, and where science/medicine fail to meet human psycho-spiritual need”

Whitefeather is an east cost artist based in Fredericton NB who is known for working with Human Hair, transcending First Nations and Victorian uses of hair in decorative adornment she reaches into a deeper more primal space with the making of these “doll” fetishes. Seen and photographed at night in a top lit window, my quick photographs are not representative of the work, but they give you a taste of the atmosphere they emanate. Let my strange photographs of these compelling objects get you to drop by and see them.

My agenda complete and some how feeling quite balanced with Noel Middleton’s creatures and the start of the evening and Whitefeather’s “My Pretties” at the end. from pine needles to stray hair it was a curious night well spent.

Go to the ARTIST PROJECT over the week end if you can and since you’ll be on that side of Queen Street West Gallery 1313 is just around the corner while Magic Pony is closer to Bathurst and downtown

Links to artist:

Noel Middleton

Lorraine Roy

Carmella Karijo Rother

Tracey Martin

Kate Jackson’s website is “Coming Soon”

more links:

Magic Pony

the Artist Project Toronto

Gallery 1313 in Toronto


Mitsuko Akutsu

Wednesday, March 11th -
The Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles

The Japanese artist Mitsuko Akutsu presents her most recent artworks created during her residency at MCCT during 2008-2009.

The Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles
5800 St-Denis Studio 501
Montréal, (Québec) H2S 3L5 Canada

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