Monday, 2 February 2015

To Have and to Hold–Art

Audrey Hurd's first training was as a printmaker.
It is interesting to think of sculpture show in terms of mark making.

I have been thrown out of more than one gallery for touching the art.  The first time was many years ago at the Montreal gallery of Mira Godard.  I am trying to remember if the work of art was a Lichtenstein or a Pollock.  Either way, what I want to express is that I have a profound need to touch things and I don't believe I am alone in that regard.  (Wanting to touch the art is probably one of the reasons I became a curator wearing those white cotton gloves the conservators give you.)  The primal need to touch reminds me of those experiments where they offer the baby monkey the choice between the bottle of milk or a simulated mother monkey to cuddle with.  The cuddle wins out. 

Well, there is an exhibition currently up at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery that should appeal to your inner monkey because it invites you to touch the art by Audrey Hurd.  Coincidentally, there is an exhibition by Deb Dumka at The Craft Gallery that opens this weekend and it is also encourages viewers to interact with the pieces through touch, sight and sound. 
Detail of the Plasticine pillar by Hurd being held.

Audrey Hurd's centerpiece in the exhibition Until it remembers you incorporates three "hugging" columns that are roughly the height of the artist.  They are made of Memory Foam, Plasticine and concrete.  Oh that magic number 3.  I couldn't help but think of the storybook connotations:  the three wishes, Goldilocks and the Three Bears with their three chairs, beds and porridge.  Like Goldilocks we are all in search of our "just right".  "Was this show 'just right'? I asked myself.   

I think Hurd's basic concept for the show is solid and suitably intrigued to learn more I went to her artist's talk.  Hurd is an enthusiastic, engaging speaker.  She seemed liked a natural hugger.  It is easy to see how her infectious, bubbly persona persuaded the tech crew of The Rooms to assist her in constructing her sculptures.  In the talk, she pointed out that it was the first time she had ever tackled such a project, which was accomplished through an Elbow Room artist residency at the in-house studio of The Rooms. 

Hurd shared that in preparation for the "Holding Pillars" (as they are called in the exhibition brochure) that she had first experimented by embracing her bedding and documenting it as it released from the impact of the hug.  Using what is at hand is the time worn strategy of penniless artists worldwide.  Unfortunately, she did not tell us what other materials with which she had experimented or whether they had any special meaning for her.  To her credit, Hurd did raise the thematic topic of desire shaping matter, which is a juicy thought.  And on that note, the concise exhibition brochure has an essay by curator Mireille Eagan that is well worth reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment