Michelle Forsyth


My work is driven by a deep fascination with the complexities of time, memory, and resilience amidst the banality of everyday life. My experience with early-onset Parkinson's disease has given me a unique perspective to draw upon on these themes, leading me to build a practice that reflects my own experiences and struggles. Through an interdisciplinary practice that involves painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, and writing, I seek to create complex and thought-provoking autobiographical works that speak to the human experience, in all its difficulty. Embedded within my pieces, are hidden notes, intentionally kept secret, where I address the challenges and fears I hold in relation to living with a degenerative disease.

I employ vibrant colors and compositions based personal mementos and through the reproduction of clothing I can no longer wear, to engage with issues of identity. Items found deep within the recesses of my closet and bureau drawers often become the primary source of inspiration, due to their relationship with the body I once had. My life experience has given me a heightened appreciation for the preciousness of time, and I often seek to convey this sense of its passing. Whether painting intricate patterns on wooden panels, or crumpled paper, I seek to create works that are dynamic and energetic, and that invite the viewer to look more closely and discover the subtle details and nuances that are embedded within the work.

My practice slow and methodical, and each mark I make is unique. The work itself is is hand-drawn, and hand-repeated, abd rather than benefitting from the advantages that printmaking allows for, my films are screen printed at a 1:1 scale on cloth and printed once, before cutting them out and hand-sewing them into garments or soft sculptures. I also print these motifs on Japanese paper, cutting them into strips to create sculptural forms, using papier mâché. The physical rhythms of making are especially important to me, and having a progressive disease highlights the preciousness of time. Each mark I make becomes a record of then.

The sculptural aspects of my work are created using a range of materials and processes, from traditional techniques, such as building wooden panels with legs and using papier mâché, to the more contemporary approaches, of stacking or leaning. I am interested in the way that different materials can interact and complement one another, and I enjoy the challenges and surprises that come with working across a variety of disciplines. I employ photographic ducumentation in my work, even building each set by hand. I exhibit the works in both sculptural form in addition to photographic prints. Overall, my work serves as a testament to my resilience and strength, and it is a celebration of the haptic knowledge that comes with the creative process. I am deeply committed to exploring the physical and emotional aspects of making art by hand.


I hold an MFA from Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ); and a BFA from the University of Victoria (Victoria, BC). My work has been exhibited internationally at venues including: Mulherin + Pollard, (New York, NY); Zaum Projects (Lisbon, Portugal); The BRIC Arts Media House (Brooklyn, NY); Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (Doha, Qatar); Pentimenti Gallery (Philadelphia, PA); Auxiliary Projects (Brooklyn, NY); The Hunterdon Museum of Art (Clinton, NJ); The Luminary Center for the Arts (St. Louis, MO); The Charleston Heights Arts Center (Las Vegas, NV); Deluge Contemporary Art (Victoria, BC); and Mercer Union (Toronto, ON). I have been the recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts (Ottawa, ON), Artist Trust (Seattle, WA). My work in print has been supported by awards from the Larry Sommers Memorial Fellowship (Seattle Print Arts, WA) and the Nick Novak Fellowship (Open Studio, Toronto, ON). I have been a resident at the Frans Masereel Centrum (Kasterlee, Belgium), The Banff Centre (Banff AB), The Textile Centre (Blöndos, Iceland), and The University of Southern Maine (Gorham, ME). I currently hold a tenured position at OCAD University (Toronto, ON) and am represented by Corkin Gallery (Toronto, ON).