Open Studio
, 401 Rchmond, Toronto, Ontario.

Solo exhibition Footnotes at Open Studio.
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Footnotes was my first solo exhibition in Toronto. It included photographs of bundled objects and text passages that have been folded and photographed against patterned backgrounds. The work was accompanied by a key in the form of a text panel that provided further context for each work.


The text below each image was displayed as wall text (above) in the exhibition. It was not meant to read as a didactic panel, but should be seen as a poetic accompaniment to each work.


A chartreuse satin sits nestled amongst a voluptuous cacophony of black and white woven patterns. I found the acid green dress on a sale rack containing mostly dull browns and greys. The arrangement, I assume, was designed to catch my eye. After its purchase, it hung in my closet for many years, having been worn only once or twice before being tucked away. Its neighbour is a jacket whose black and white pattern fluctuates between thick and thin.


My arm, sheathed in a hand-stitched glove, punctuates a painting. Five failed attempts at glove making proceeded this one, which was made from a pattern in a book that used to belong to Kristen Fahrig. My dear friend Heidrun gave it to me after Kristen’s death. I consider this piece an ode to her infectious smile.


I moved to my current apartment in Toronto from a large house in the country. That house was beautiful. It resonated with light. Over time I played with that light, altering the space by painting each facet of wall a slightly different white until the edges disappeared. That house gave me a space to collect things for the first time, a place to explore my desire. A place to focus my creative energy outside of my studio. I spent a good deal of time there, trying to mimic the pages I loved from interior design magazines.

I painted a wall grey in the living room, only to repaint it again with a warmer grey, and then again with a cooler version, trying to get it just right. After feeling somewhat satisfied, I hung a large abstract painting on it, one I had purchased from my real estate agent, Jeannie. Jeannie’s painting was primarily grey. It was a warm grey for the most part, but it had cool greys in it too, so it looked great on that wall. I actually bought it for that house. I long for that painting now and the memories it conjures for me. Grey and brooding it is reminiscent of a rainy day on the Palouse. The colours in it set up a kind of atmosphere. A deep, ethereal space but with one exception: there is a bright orange streak right in the middle of it. It’s the kind of orange that catches your eye. It snags your attention, and it prevents you from escaping fully into it.


When I first went to see David a few years ago I wore this dress. In it I found my reflection more comforting, for I needed to feel better about myself. I had been feeling that there was no future for someone like me, someone with a movement disorder and a body that is giving out faster than my mind, but he has changed that. He loves to listen and he is patient. He told me that some things just happen on a different tempo and I believe him. I think about what it would be like to have him here in my bed right now, in my present, my head on his chest, listening to the sound of our bodies together. I can hear the whoosh of adrenaline and feel the circulation of blood under our skin. I hear his breathing now in my mind accompanying me as I write. I love to hear this, for when he breathes I can hear the echo of his body deep within him, and as the sound unfolds, it traces through the architecture of his lungs as it passes through his frame. It sounds to me like a buffalo, rare to witness let alone be close enough to hear. There are a thousand things I think about in the moment of his breath. I consider holding mine in order to hear his more fully. And in doing so, I conjure the moment where you have to surface for air after experiencing the silent beauty of swimming underwater, of existing both separate from the world and part of it. In this moment I also contemplate the pull of air, so fast I’d almost faint, after drinking an entire glass of water from start to finish in a single go. I think about the gasp of air that comes after being defeated, if only by a few seconds, by the end of a long bridge that my sister and I held our breath across during the family road trips of my youth. And I think about the rush of cold tap water I would awaken to and my gasp when I realized my mother was holding me under it to wake me up after hyperventilating as a child. All of these moments are contained within his single breath.


Beside my bed, rests two weaving cones that I bought to match the red dress here. One is the colour of organic strawberries, the kind that adorn the glossy pages of summer food magazines. The other cone is the colour of a good vanilla ice cream. Together the two colours form the seductive rosy twill currently in progress on my loom.

I often daydream about the colour red. It makes me think of the matte hue of my favourite lipstick, imprinted on my pillowcase in smudgy rosettes during my sleep on those late nights when I have forgotten to remove it. The colour also reminds me of the glow of heat, whose intensity is visible in the low light of early morning, on my glass topped stove under my percolating Italian espresso pot.


My linen closet holds several white boxes of crumpled and painted paper. They are all neatly labeled and organized, yet the items peek out revealing a plethora of bright colours and patterns. One item is a piece painted to mimic a green, vintage Arrow shirt that used to belong to my ex-husband. Also contained here are things I have sealed up by stitching them together in scrap fabric. Many of the items here hold sentimental value for me and include:  my grandfather’s diary from 1937 documenting the temperature in northern Saskatchewan, all of my mini DV tapes with the only copies of my early video works, as well as a few things I am not yet willing to give up.


Years ago I rented a studio with a record player and a collection of albums that included Neil Young’s Harvest. The studio was extraordinarily large but it had a bedroom structure built into it, much like a tent. The bedroom contained sound well so I would listen to Harvest over and over while lying in bed. Occasionally the record would skip and I would hear a 2-second passage repeat. Instead of getting up to fix it, I would lie in bed and listen. Eventually new sounds would emerge, each skip physically marking the composition with an audible resonance. I now identify with the skip and think of it akin to a tremor, or at times a quiet stutter.


I once made a grey table, with a bit of help from Kevin, and used as a desk it in my kitchen. I hand-painted the table’s surface with colourful stripes and finished the edges in thin strips of maple. I then made a tablecloth to go with it from a piece of purple felt stitched in colourful zig-zags to mimic the stripes. Underneath it was a set of flat-files. When sitting at it, my knees pressed firmly against the metal handles of the drawers containing my drawings, paintings, paper scraps, and photographs, as well as artworks I have purchased but have never framed. The test print for this piece was contained in one of the drawers.