In 2015, I encountered an arresting photograph from 1925 of gathered ‘survivors’ posed outside Madame Tussauds’ Wax Museum following a major fire (see below); this image instigated several bodies of works that tend to develop out of situated research across multiple terrains—my live-work studio in Toronto, the ultra-diverse palm-forests of the Peruvian Amazon, the seaside ports of Bergen Norway, the Rocky Mountains of Banff National Park.
Each of these case-studies follows a consistent methodology and titling formula, [abstract-noun]~form_[specific-noun]. A simple sculptural gesture combines with malleable materials to make certain obscurities like an abstract thought, a kind of feeling, those half-remembered dreams, some elusive site, or the transience of social space evident. In each case, they are made from qualitatively equivalent stuff at hand—papier-mâché, used clothing, common vegetation, salt-dough, wax—and while most resemble something nebulous, they could coalesce to form recognizable shapes: buckets, chairs, t-shirts, slabs of floor, single socks, pairs of shoes, assorted pillows, and objects that might be described as mermaidish. Despite the wild variations that result from the uniqueness of their specific conditions, they lack possessive claims on individuality and authenticity. As such, they seem to me uncertain, their hold on material reality tentative, contingent, amenable, caught between object and concept in a state of poesis. As one body of work makes way for another, the previous sculptures tend to melt back into their environment only to reform again at another time & place, as something similar but somewhat different. In this way, the preceding works are both present and absent from whatever current works are under production. Instead of negating past-progress, the work allows for methods of active inclusion and reincorporation.
_survivors was first shown at HPI on Dundas Street West in Toronto, a year-long window project organized by Jessica Groome. They were subsequently exhibited at Forest City Gallery for In the dust of this world, 2015. The accompanying digital renderings were develedoped by Dustin Wilson.