EDM   ︎ Info   Projects   Writing  

Summer 2015, HPI, Toronto

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 a body of work that develop from situated research across specific terrains—an allotment garden in Berlin, 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]. Simple sculptural gestures such as pouring, covering, building, and hanging are combined with easily accessible materials to make visible certain obscurities—an abstract thought, a kind of feeling, those half-remembered dreams, some elusive site, or the transience of social space. In each case, the materials I choose have a capacity for sustained processes of making and unmaking—papier-mâché, used clothing, common vegetation, salt-dough, wax, composite clay, found objects. And while many of these sculptures resemble something nebulous or amorphous, others 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, each series lacks 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. 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.