Jim Arendt: Those Of Us Still Living


Jim Arendt, Adrian Lies

Jim Arendt: Those Of Us Still Living

July 13 – September 14, 2019
Vernissage with the Artist: July 13, 2-4 PM

The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum is proud to present American artist James Arendt. Arendt uses denim with startling realism to create moving portraits of workers that examine new paradigm shifts in labour.

In the artist’s words “Art making is a way for me to explore our changing relationship with labor. My research focuses on transitions in macroeconomic structures through the lens of their impact on individual lives, communities, and workers’ relationships to the structures of labor itself.

I’ve paid witness to the demise of opportunities to engage in meaningful work and seen cities ravaged by the absence of industry. As the landscape of work and labor continue to shift around us, I use art making as a way to investigate how the division of labor and alienation from work has impacted individual lives. My early engagement with work that was whole and undivided has left me with a persistent feeling that our present economic configuration has alienated most of us from the finest use of our skills… Making is a way for me to echo the cycles of seasonal death, unemployment, natural disasters, and loss I’ve witnessed. The physical labor involved in the creation of these pieces mirrors the work I engaged in with my family. The scale and application of materials evokes in me memories of the time when there was promise for our endeavor.

Casting the people I know best into the center of my work, I explore how the changing landscape of labor has defined them, not as they were or are, but as I know them to be. Our lives, separated by years and distance, remain entangled around the work we left unfinished.

I choose materials to work with while seeking to create a greater relevancy between content and form. Denim seems created to be abused, worn out, patched, stained, and burnt through. Its characteristics are mirrored in the individuals I choose to represent. Yet, jeans remain supple, and with the right pair of boots can still go to the ball. I like that.”

Mississippi Valley Textile Museum
3 Rosamond Street E., Almonte ON K0A 1A0
613-256-3754, info@mvtm.ca or curator@mvtm.ca