Kim Foster Yardley: With Absence And Other Things

The Red Head Gallery, Toronto

With Absence Chapter Two, 2023, Acrylic on paper, 22 x 30 in

Kim Foster Yardley: With Absence And Other Things

August 23 – September 2, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 26, 2:00 – 5:00 pm
Artist Talk: Sunday, August 27, 2:00 – 3:00 pm
The Red Head Gallery, Toronto

With Absence and Other Things is an exhibit of intimate self-portraits on paper portraying psychological unease since immigration to Canada; a journey that involved great upheaval in Kim Foster Yardley’s life. As a result of this transition her work has undergone a stylistic and conceptual evolution from figuration to expression focusing on visualising psychological states of melancholy and vulnerability. Simultaneously opaque and transparent, layers of paint are thinly applied atop paper to communicate frailty and a state of feeling “thin-skinned” due to experiences of racial trauma, isolation, and uncertainty.

Both a confrontation and invitation, the portraits look directly out at the viewer giving the audience a choice to look more deeply or turn away from that which may bring discomfort. With eyes sometimes absent and gazing beyond the viewer, the mouths of the portraits are smeared to indicate forced smiles and grins, under which lay battles with sadness and anxiety.

Consisting of multiple unframed works on paper, the repetition and iterative nature of the multiple self-portraits is meant to replicate relentless day-to-day experiences of struggling, grieving, and yet also resilience.

Untitled, 2022, Acrylic on paper, 8 x 12 in

Artist Statement
Kim Foster Yardley explores how materialities and methods can simultaneously visualise human trauma and resilience, sharing space as a result of hardship. As a black woman in Cape Town, South Africa, Kim grew up steeped in segregation, only realising the extent to which this experience had constructed her sense of self and reality, with immigration to Toronto. Working at the intersection of art and psychology allows her to create expressive portraits that reflect personal encounters with socio-political issues such as identity, inequity and mental health.

Interested in how different aspects of one’s face can reveal, shield or confront one’s fears, hopes, and needs, she uses the gaze, darkening of features, and abstraction of scale to express personal struggles with mental health and reflect on the impact of racial trauma. Balancing each painting to evoke fragility and strength, Kim uses layering and the power of colour to express autobiographical states of melancholy and vulnerability amidst new surroundings while inviting the viewer to dialogue with the ambiguity and commonalities of personhood.

With Absence, 2022, Acrylic on paper, 7 x 11 in

About the Artist
Originally from South Africa, Kim Foster Yardley is a visual artist based in Toronto who uses abstraction to personalise portrait-based figurations.

Awarded a grant by Tides Canada and the School of Social Entrepreneurship of Ontario in 2019, she is a 2022 recipient of the Toronto Arts Council Newcomer and Refugee Artist mentorship grant. Also awarded two exhibition assistance grants by the Ontario Arts Council in 2023, she is an inaugural member of the FACES Collective and has participated in a residency at Artscape Gibraltar Point co-organised by Partial Gallery.

Her most recent exhibitions include an art installation at Hashtag Gallery and group shows at Through 100 Windows at the Clark Centre for the Arts, the Winter Emerging Artists Exhibit at Gallery 1313, and unframed at Propeller Gallery.

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