The culmination of over a year and a half of research, the Manitoba Craft Council and myself are happy to announce this week’s opening of Saves Nine. A group exhibition, Saves Nine puts forth a proposition to the question of what post-disciplinary craft looks like in Manitoba, specifically across the generations of artists active here today. You are all invited to come down to aceartinc on Friday evening for the opening to find out my hypothesis to this question.
The artists included in the show span the spectrum artistically and demographically. These artists include Steven Leyden Cochrane, Leah Decter, Erika Lincoln, Corrie Peters, Willow Rector, Deborah Scott, and Gaetanne Sylvester. While the artists and their work represent the diverse breadth of the arts in Manitoba, they share a core commonality, which is the decision to feature craft in their work in some fundamental way– either in material, technique, or subject.
Cochrane’s conceptually driven works Blanket and Blanket, to Blanket feature the common crochet afghan full of notions of comfort and domesticity. Blanket, to Blanket’s rigid ossified sculptural form is in stark contrast to the graphite drawing of Blanket with its delicate impermanence.
Decter’s Five Blanket Suite exceeds the common expectations of rug hooking. Domesticity and décor are confronted with concept and politics. Exploring the political history of the Hudson Bay blanket through a settler lens, Decter literally takes apart and takes stock of its history by dismantling the blankets into thin strips that are then rug hooked into common colour panels of rug hooking.
Lincoln combines modern technology – domestic and commercial – with personal domestic history and folk art in the creation of a duo of reverse appliquéd panels based on the Mola folk art of the Kuna people of Panama. Using high-tech laser cutters for creating the patterns in the cloth, the common household technology represented is highlighted and offered up for us to consider our own contemporary folk imagery.
Peters’ act of trust explores power dynamics through vulnerability, specifically the vulnerability experienced while napping in public and semi-public spaces by people whose primary residences are shelters or nursing homes. The work encourages the viewer to participate by taking one of the found afgahans provided in the gallery out into the streets. The idea is to practice vulnerability in solidarity, breaking down borders of power, whether they be that of the art gallery or of privilege.
Rector’s work The Singing Bone explores the mythological Canadian relationship to the wild landscape, as well as Manitoba’s historical development through the fur trade. With literary references as well as the art historical references of the Group of Seven, this work speaks of our mediated and layered relationship to our environment.
Scott’s respect for materiality, with all of its conceptual and physical connotations, is highlighted in Fall from her Halo series. Made from soft maple wood, one feels the delicate balance between manipulation of material and letting the material do what it does naturally, speaking directly to society’s relationship to nature and culture alike.
Sylvester’s ongoing exploration of the fragility of bodily identity is continued through Delicate Sheathe. Made of multiple ceramic components in the form of cast lace, these separate pieces are tentatively connected through a series of leather laces.
With this brief overview, I give you a glimpse of the works included in the show and underlying themes and sub-themes of the exhibition that are woven and stitched throughout the work, whether that be in form or content. The MCC and I invite you to come down and check out the show to draw out meaning, inspiration, and connections for yourself. Keep an eye out for announcement the exhibition programming which will include a workshop and a panel discussion later in August.
Saves Nine opens on Friday, August 2nd at 5PM at aceartinc.
Fall, Halo Series (2012) by Deborah Scott
Soft Maple, Gold Leaf, 64x71x140 cm