This week, I finished installing my most recent exhibition in Warkworth, Ontario at AH! Arts and Heritage Centre. This show consists of three pieces- Memento, Shoe Box of Memories: Thread Lines and Sketches, and Stand-In For Home. Thanks to the team of helpful installers who invited me to show in their town and then spent many hours attaching threads and tying knots. Here is a look at the finished exhibition and some photos from the installation process!
Statements for the artworks in the show:
The poppies began as a commission of one-hundred flowers, hanging and photographed to commemorate 100 years from the end of the First World War.
From these humble beginnings, “Poppies” expanded to an exhibition at Gallery Stratford July 20th to September 30, 2018. Hundreds of embroidered poppies hung upside down from the ceiling, in a darkened room creating a somber, dream-like environment for visitors, who were able to sit in chairs underneath the work.
“Memento” is the third inside-out garden of poppies, this time at AH! Gallery in Warkworth, Ontario. The gallery is in a repurposed memorial hall with the village Cenotaph outside, built to commemorate the fallen soldiers’, from WW1. It is a special space to install the work. in the light and white room engaging with a play of shadows. Still more poppies, now close to a thousand, have been individually delicately placed in a gentle flow through the room.
The poppies are a keepsake, memory and a tender reminder of life, time and space. Mats and a chair have been provided to view the work from underneath.
“The poppy is an emblematic flower with many associations. It has long been the symbol for sleep, healing, remembrance, and death; as well as, a particular favourite of many gardeners attracted to its colourful varieties and showy blossoms. One can imagine cheerily frolicking through these poppies or pausing to commemorate a fallen warrior. Perhaps, even lying down on the floor and looking up at this lush meadow will cause one to drift off into slumber – after all, poppies loomed large in the Land of Oz.
McCavour has created this mysterious field of poppies not to unsettle the viewer but to draw them in, spark curiosity and encourage engagement. Visually stunning and beautifully crafted her diaphanous installations skilfully play with associations of duality, presenting an alternative perspective to both drawing and embroidery.”
– Melanie Egan, Director of Craft & Design Harbourfront Centre
Shoe Box of Memories:
Thread-Lines as Sketches
Whether it is a workshop or the beginning of a new piece or an exhibition, it is important to have samples of work up as inspiration. This wall has work from early undergraduate experiments in 2005, to recent samples for large scale pieces. Some examples include the dissolvable base fabric. Others have been dissolved and carefully ironed into pristine drawings. As the individual samples fill the wall, the shadows, details and secret ingredients visit the viewer. There are hundreds of stories embedded in these threads. Some already exist and others are waiting to be told.
Sculptural installations are made using a sewing machine to create thread drawings and installing them on planes created from threads across the ceiling. By sewing into fabric that dissolves in water, Amanda builds up stitched lines on a temporary surface. The crossing threads create strength so that when the fabric is dissolved, the thread drawing can hold together without a base. With only the thread remaining, these images appear as though they would be easily unravelled and seemingly on the verge of falling apart, despite the works actual strength.
Completing each layer of a vignette, or many individual components, Amanda’s installations are juxtapositions of elements. From one point-of-view the scene is three-dimensional, from another it is many slices of a full scenario in two-dimensions. At all times, it is an ethereal interpretation of intangible objects in space.
Stand-in for Home
This installation is a ‘thread rendering’ based on a section of the kitchen in an earlier place I used to call home. I am interested in the vulnerability of thread in relation to the home, as both things feel temporary and fragile. Making this piece required me to re-visit, remember and re-create a space formerly my home, but now changed with other residents.
The result of a layered investigation of the space, wallpaper, furniture, and spaces between results in a stand-in, a synthetic, re-created version of home.
The objects act as a trace, documented home furnishings, a visual record of a space that used to exist. Part shrine, part monument, part memorial, the thread drawings act as tribute to a room that once was.
Just as in the heritage of buildings, there is more than the “bricks and mortar” of the place, there are “intangible cultural properties” resident as well. People who have occupied the building over time, hold onto the spaces as they were, rarely do they make their experiences tangible. This piece emphasises the fragile nature of the memories, attached to objects and surfaces, in spaces we call “home.”