Sally Thurlow: RENEWAL



Left: Recurrent Patterns (detail), 2020, 27 of 40 vintage fabric bolsters, cotton-filled, 15 x 60 x 30 cm each. Right: 4 of 12 Vintage Textile wall works 64 x 96 cm.

Sally Thurlow

September 16 to October 10, 2020

The Artist will be present on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 12 – 5 PM for the duration of the exhibition in lieu of an OPENING RECEPTION.

The Red Head Gallery is pleased to present RENEWAL, an exhibition by Sally Thurlow.

RENEWAL speaks of regeneration – Earth re-awakening for Spring’s new growth, sowing our seeds for the future. This Spring, COVID-19 turned the world upside down, shaking the status quo, testing our resolves. Our own and societies’ flaws magnified. For Thurlow, RENEWAL continues to speak to her determination to recycle and revitalize materials, rebuking societies’ environmental and ethically toxic demands for never-ending wasteful growth. This COVID time has also made more urgent, her initial desire in developing new forms, to provoke conversations, while also combining sculptures renewed by their association.

From flotsam found on many beaches, to enchanting vintage drapery and upholstery fabrics, this sculptural installation draws on materials collected over time. The beach flotsam collected come together in a vessel with a personal family story pre-plastics, pre the mass-marketing we are enveloped in now. She had stowed away remnants of vintage fabrics for over forty years when she was last designing and selling her one-of-a-kind brand of clothing. These beautiful fabrics, culturally diverse and intriguing, are still stable, some now close to a century old. They remain, far removed from the low priced synthetic mixed fabrics of today’s fast fashions.

Recently, Thurlow added a studio loft space with room enough to hold small gatherings. She returned to these vintage textiles, for minimal and beautiful seating turning them into bolsters – the kind used for meditation or conversations. Reflecting her interest in our psychological makeup, she applied to each, the name of a different archetype (based in Jungian psychology, brought forward by Carolyn Myss). Myss shows how by coming to understand our archetypes, they may have a profound impact on how we live our lives, allowing us to achieve our personal best.

Her idea was to invite studio visitors to choose which archetypes they felt attracted to sit on and perhaps share a related story. Since she has had 6 months extra time due to the COVID gallery shut down, she has also had time to develop twelve wall pieces from the smaller remains of the vintage fabrics, adding in related thoughtful additions. Each offers a different physical and emotional impact, considering that Thurlow was working through this COVID lens, considering everyone’s four constant archetypes at work, the Child, Victim, Prostitute and Saboteur, and others in her house of twelve.

Now, responding to these uncertain COVID times, the bolsters will lay on the gallery floor forming several sandbagged style walls, isolating, no longer offering repose. But visitors may still contemplate which archetype could apply to either their present, their past, or to other people they think they know… Whatever visitors decide, by utilizing archetypes and stories to practice solidarity, Thurlow is still making space to foster reflection, deliberation and discussion.

Sally Thurlow is a Canadian artist living for many years by the shores of Lake Ontario. This location informs her multi-disciplinary practice based in sculpture, installation, photography and painting. By engaging with various cultures through discussion, media, and travel, she invites the examination of how cultural and environmental issues impact our communities. Her work has been shown internationally including ARC Gallery, Chicago, Ill, BluSeed Studios and Gallery, Saranac Lake, NY, and Kunsthaus Gallery, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Thurlow received a BA majoring in Fine Arts from the University of Toronto, finishing with Cultural and Environmental Studies at Trent University, with significant earlier studies at OCAD and George Brown College. She has been the recipient of various Ontario Arts Council Awards and has given numerous artist talks and workshops at educational institutions and public galleries. She is a member of The Iris Group and The Red Head Gallery, both artists’ collectives. Her work is held in private collections across Canada, and at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Ontario.

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Gallery hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12 – 5 PM

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