Then & There: Work from the One Hundred Drawings Project
Michelle Forsyth

January 18 to  February 23, 2008
Opening Reception: Friday, Jan 18, 7 to 10 pm
Deluge Contemporary Art
636 Yates Street, Victoria, BC
Gallery Hours: Wed to Sat, 12 to 5pm

Then & There: Work from the One Hundred Drawings Project is a collection of gouache drawings representing the artist's experiences within one hundred historical and contemporary sites of disaster such as the Halifax harbour explosion, the Triangle Shirtwaist building fire and closer to home, the Point Ellice Bridge collapse of 1896. Although the exact nature and magnitude of each event included in this monumental undertaking varies considerably throughout the series, all have been the focus of media attention and endure as sites of macabre spectacle. Forsyth has chosen to approach these sites obliquely and intuitively, exposing and transmuting her grief through "the compassionate process  of translating my first-hand visits into thousands of tiny brightly coloured brush marks and glitter." "As opposed to trying to recreate the aesthetic spectacle that once occurred at each site, my work documents the absence of it."  The drawings favour a formal elegance of pattern and the visceral qualities of the handmade over the efficiency of digital production. Concerned with the aesthetics of horror, and equal parts obsession, devotion and requiem, this work is  a reflection on, and powerful indictment of, the onslaught of images of suffering in our contemporary world.

Born in Vancouver in 1972, Michelle Forsyth holds an MFA from Rutgers University and a BFA from the University of Victoria. She currently resides in Pullman, Washington where she teaches painting and drawing at Washington State University. Her work has been widely exhibited across Canada and the US, at venues including Shift Gallery (Seattle), Lorinda Knight Gallery (Spokane), Third Avenue Gallery (Vancouver), The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (Spokane), Charleston Heights Arts Centre (Las Vegas), Mercer Union (Toronto); Truck Contemporary Art (Calgary); Kirkland Art Centre (Seattle) and the Hogar Collection (Brooklyn). She recently received second prize in the William and Dorothy Yeck award for young painters competition at Miami University in Oxford, OH,  and in the spring of 2009 she will be a visiting artist in residence at the University of Southern Maine (Gorham, ME).
Artist's talk as part of the University of Victoria Visual Arts Department Visiting Artist's Series:
Wednesday, January 16, 8 pm. Harry Hickman Building, Room 105, University of Victoria.

Contact:  Deborah de Boer, Director/Curator