Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Whiten, Weppler & Mahovsky @ Soft, MSVU

Colette Whiten There there, 1994
Soft was an exhibition of textile-based work by Gary Markle, Anna Torma, Colette Whiten, Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky from the Mount Saint Vincent University collection, curated by Katie Belcher and held in the upper MSVU art gallery. A pocket-sized catalogue complete with essays and colour photographs accompanied the exhibit. MSVU is located in Halifax, Nova Scotia and I caught the show just before it ended in mid-August.

I first saw this Colette Whiten piece commissioned for the Survivors In Search of a Voice: The Art of Courage (1995-1996) touring exhibition which began at the Royal Ontario Museum in 1995. It was gifted to the MSVU from the Amesbury/Chalmers Collection in 2005. There there is made from glass bead fringe suspended from aluminum angle wall mounts. Its dimensions are 132 x 190 x 31 cm. There there are the empty words that doctors offer when trying to comfort their breast cancer patients when they say: "There, there, there. It's going to be all right." 
Colette Whiten There there detail, 1994
There there reads like a pixel message board that offers hollow comfort instead of stock market information.
Rhonda Weppler & Trevor Mahovsky Shopping Cart II, 2007
I almost didn't photograph Shopping Cart II, but it was one of those artworks that snuck slyly into my subconscious and then stayed put. It was made on site at the MSVU Art Gallery. If you haven't guessed already, Shopping Cart II was "cast" from the humblest of materials: aluminum foil. Weppler and Mahovsky embossed a cart with sheets of foil, removed it and then glued the "cast" together. The piece made in 2007 is extremely fragile and reads like a discarded and abandoned corpse. Given the frail nature of the piece, I was surprised that it was exhibited on the floor of the gallery rather than on a low plinth. Shopping Cart II is 84 x 108 x 8 cm.
Rhonda Weppler & Trevor Mahovsky Shopping Cart II detail, 2007

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