I’m a little late on this one but I wanted to post something about an exhibition I was in during the fall of this year. It was Harbourfront Centre’s craft Biennial titled LookOut. True to it’s name, the exhibition comes once every two years and shines a light on contemporary Canadian craft. This year, the focus was on the differences (and similarities) between two popular schools of thought in the craft community, those being the functionally focused and conceptually focused. The show was curated by Melanie Egan and Patrick Macaulay and featured work from Harbourfront artists Lizz Aston, Jesse Bromm, George Cho, Jen Kneulman, Grace Eun Mi Lee, Shuyu Lu, Janet Macpherson, Meredith Robb and myself. Check out the official page here.
I thought the show turned out really well! It was so much fun to approach my work from a completely conceptual place. I’ve never had such a large space to work with and it was really rewarding to see the result. Of course, the pieces were not fully in place until the final moments before the show opened. Luckily, I had Harbourfront Centre’s staff backing me up (I owe a huge thanks to Andrew and the set-up staff for fabrication of the peg boards) and everything worked out perfectly!
The installation, titled “Extra Lives” is a series of six displays directly inspired by two of my favorite childhood pastimes: 8-bit video games and the classic Lite Brite. The concept behind the work came from ruminating on careers and the choices that led me into Art, Craft and Design. I tried to view the story through the mind of the child playing with these toys. The final pieces took the form of a list of possible “grown-up” jobs represented by video game power-up icons hence the name, Extra Lives. The giant coloured pegs lent themselves perfectly to this type of simplified, pixelated imagery. Even though the displays are intentionally simple, they total roughly 180 pegs!
Here is my Artist Statement from the show:
“In thinking about the events and choices that brought me to this point in my life, I
imagine thousands of branching paths and opportunities both taken and missed that can
be traced back to a time when there were very few. Today, I find myself an artist using my
creative abilities to earn a living. Back then, playing with my favorite toys, I couldn’t have
imagined where my path would take me! This work is symbolic of that simpler time and it
gives me comfort to know I can still revisit it.”
I’d love to find an even bigger venue to continue this series. The feeling of punching those giant pegs through the paper was unbelievably satisfying and I would jump at the chance to do it again. I just put together this video to illustrate the concept and production of the pieces. Take a look and see what went into them. Hope you like it!
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