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The artists in this exhibition are using their work to articulate a relationship with the natural world, the built environment, and the social structures which form our contemporary condition. Each artist establishes a space in which they are able to bridge the world of art and another field of understanding. They then proceed to use techniques available in both disciplines to explore their defined territory. Techniques such as observation and examination, gathering and sorting, documentation and imitation lead them to discoveries about our place in the physical world.
In Amaranth: Ceremony and Taboo, women’s place in the development of agriculture has been the focus of this research and the subject of the fibre relief works. Because amaranth adapted to the conditions provided by the early gardeners it was of interest to this artist and became a focal point of her enquiry. Catherine Shapiro has been a professional gardener and she brings this knowledge to her artwork.
Canopy for Baroque Dreamers is a microcosm of temporary connections, fragile lifelines between what we have left and where we hope to arrive. It insinuates itself into a transition space between outside and inside: the space by the window of the Richmond Art Gallery. By making reference to the groomed landscape immediately outside the window and the architecture of the institutional buildings surrounding this installation, the work alludes to a tension between this built and natural environment. The work is temporary and fragile. The natural and industrial materials create a structure that reflects the impermanence of life on this planet.
The Journals explore her interest in natural history through a set of environmental studies. The historical use of journals was an important means of communicating natural history information, but in a short space of time, this role has changed. Kirsty Robbins’ ‘journals’ record her personal expeditions and discoveries in the rich Canadian environment in which she now lives. The intimacy in her recorded observations reveals a growing alienation and allows a response to her need to document the imminent possibility of loss in the natural world.
The acquisition of an old sewing box, complete with contents, sparked my initial explorations of the topography of materials and furthered my interest in how societal changes are often reflected in our consumer goods.
Robin Ripley explores the inherent characteristics of the objects with which she is working as a means of finding what she calls the ‘thingness’ of an object’. In her role as an artist, she transforms the utility of the object. Through her transfigured use she is able to infer something about the world that made it. The resulting (transformed) objects produce narratives about the world of the viewer. Reinforcing the connection between art and life, Robin Ripley reminds us that a notion is not only an ingenious object, it is also an idea.
Ripley also brings to this exhibition a collaborative work developed with Diana Burgoyne.
Catherine Shapiro artist biography unavailable.
Ilze Bebris and Virginia Abbott have been working together over the past six years, since they met as students at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. Their installations enable them to explore their complementary interests in industrial architecture and the architecture of the natural world. In addition to their collaborative work, they each have individual artistic careers and have exhibited extensively.
Kirsty Robbins has been exhibiting since 1992. She received her Masters of the Arts from the Royal College of Art, London, England and has a B.A. in Design from Stafford University and a B.A. in Education from U.B.C.
Robin Ripley artist biography unavailable.