In January, I had the opportunity to present a project I had been working on for a good six months. It’s been a while since I’ve invested so much time into extensive research, exploration, and experimentation, all leading to the realization of a single project. The piece evolved quite a bit from conception to it’s culmination as a sculptural installation for a window display in Toronto. I felt like I had spent so much time with the piece, and having the chance to step back to see it out in the world was an experience that allowed me to detach from the work, and examine it critically.
Back in November I published a post (click here to read) where I talked a bit about the inspiration and experimentation that planted the seeds for my installation. I proposed my project to the Toronto Design Offsite Festival, and I got accepted as a guest artist, and was provided with a venue in which to present my work.
“The Toronto Design Offsite Festival (TO DO) is Canada’s largest cultural celebration of design with over 100 exhibitions and events forming Toronto’s design week, January 15-21, 2018. Going into its 8th year, TO DO transforms Toronto into a hub for creativity, taking design and art out of the studio and into the urban sphere, bringing people together to celebrate contemporary culture. We provide opportunities for emerging talent, and engage the community with exceptional and accessible public programming.” -TODO click here for more info.
The festival was fantastic. There were so many inspiring events and exhibitions that took place around the city. It was such a great time to be in Toronto! The amount of talent showcased in the festival was overwhelming, and I was so energized by the innovation of many of the projects.
My project was installed in the window of a men’s clothing shop called Muddy George, located at 973 Bloor St. West. The piece was challenging to photograph because of the glare off the windows, but I tried my best to snap a few shots!
Special thanks to my dear pals Liz and Eliot Wright for helping me with the install!
On the east coast of Canada there are tall grasses that grow near the coastline known as marram grass, a hardy plant species that stabilizes sand dunes. The grasses are thick and lush in the warmer months and weather into golden strands as fall and winter set in. Repeated gusts of harsh wind off the water carve ghostly patterns through the grass. The windswept grasses bear visible traces of the wind’s course and become a humble reminder of the elusive and untameable force of nature.
Traces is a sculptural installation made up of more than thirty small paintings of coastal landscapes on copper that have been cut into thin lengths that mimic weathered marram grass. The imagery of the original paintings form deconstructed and obscured imprints of the environmental conditions of the coast. Opaque brushstrokes and controlled hints of metal blend together to conjure echoing sounds of the ocean, while forming a static snapshot of faded memories. Although marram grass can withstand extreme coastal weather and tolerate human encounter, it always seems to carry visible traces of all that passes through.
This was the first sculpture piece I have completed since 2015, so it felt good to switch gears from jewellery design to work on a larger scale. I feel in many ways that this piece will become my departure point for future sculpture works. There are some aspects of “Traces” that I am happy with, but mostly, I came to identify a lot of areas I want to further explore and challenge to resolve in future work. This was a large and necessary project feel I had to undertake, and although I am not fully happy with the end result, I gained a starting point from which to take the next big leap!
Thanks for reading! : )