Gabriel Orozco’s Yielding Stone is a perfect metaphor for the experience of travel. As his soft plasticine ball is kicked around, it picks up grit and debris while also acquiring impressions of the ground it passes over. Whenever we journey, we experience the impact of all that we experience, some is retained, some leave marks, most is lost to time. And over time, those impressions are worn down or overrun. We remember our memories rather than the events themselves. Even the most indelible recollections lose shape as the years pass until we’re left with just an outline around that emptiness we’ve left behind. Memory is always and forever an absence.
Stanzie Tooth, Moon People, 2016, plaster, felt and pigment
On her recent travels through Europe, Stanzie Tooth discovered a similar method for representing that impending absence. Since she was moving around a lot she had to have a convenient and portable method for creating things while on the road. She took to making plaster casts in cardboard trays and the results – a selection of which are on display at General Hardware alongside some paintings and drawings – look just like canvases hung on the wall, right down to the illusion of folded corners on the edges. The smooth surfaces, however, are interrupted by swaths of felt cut into rough shapes or subtle indents carved into the plaster. Apart from those shapes – reminiscent of shadowy figures or faint landscapes – and the colour mixed into the plaster – either blueprint blue or a rusty grey-black that evokes a more distant past – the result is decided in the moment of pouring. The artist doesn’t see her work until after it is made.
A few look like windows onto a milky sky blue day, but the darker series is reminiscent of Jean Dubuffet and there’s a surrealist bent to the not-entirely-intentional method and its relation to mental states. As with all casts, the work itself is made within an empty space and what you see is the inverse of what the artist started with. That distance presents yet another metaphor for travel and it is also evoked in the indistinct figures in Tooth’s drawings and paintings.
Stanzie Tooth, Moon People, 2016, ink and gouache on water paper
If you’re like me, even your best experiences are coloured by the knowledge that they soon will be memories. The works in this exhibition reflect the condition of those recollections. They melt like dreams that lose their definition as the morning wears on. They leave you with a combination of pleasure and melancholy that comes from having seen something wonderful and then lost it or left it behind. What remains is a shadow of what was once known.
General Hardware Contemporary: http://generalhardware.ca/
Stanzie Tooth: The Distance of the Moon continues until April 8.
Terence Dick is a freelance writer living in Toronto. His art criticism has appeared in Canadian Art, BorderCrossings, Prefix Photo, Camera Austria, Fuse, Mix, C Magazine, Azure, and The Globe and Mail. He is the editor of Akimblog. You can follow his quickie reviews and art news announcements on Twitter @TerenceDick.
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Posted by , on 2017-03-16 13:41:22Love this text ... !