Heather Goodchild & Naomi Yasui: Last Is First
Opening Reception, May 12th, 5-7:30 pm
The collaborative Toronto duo outline their approach to fusing art, design and craft through multimedia installations.
Last is First explores the hierarchy of artistic disciplines by focusing on the relationships between depictions of objects in paintings and photographs and the physical objects themselves. The ”props“ (a fruit bowl, a rug, a vessel, fabric) typically used in the creation of “higher art“ can be forms of high art in their own right. The work points to the cyclical nature of artistic endeavour as styles influence each other within different disciplines (contemporary art, fashion, and design) and as ideas recycle through history. By playing with the different roles and experiences of a creator, it explores the tension between being both artist and artisan, professional and amateur – a theme continued from Naomi and Heather‘s first collaborative work, Wardens Abroad, which was exhibited in Berlin (2012) and later remounted as part of the exhibition
Working as a multidisciplinary artist since 2002, I have focused on textiles, sculpture and installation work. Since attending the Canada Council residency in Paris in 2014, my practice has shifted to include painting and animation. Through these different media I examine the value of work, individuality found in repetitive action, the collective importance of occupation and archetypal storytelling. I am currently interested in exploring the different effects created by the repetitive craft of rug hooking vs the more gestural act of painting. The process of making each of these pieces points to different ways of looking and the effect of time spent in making on the seeming immediacy of the outcome.
My most recent exhibition, Draw the curtains, presented at Mulherin, Toronto, contrasted meticulous watercolour paintings of my living space with loose oil paintings of interiors from sumptuous estate houses seen in television programs. This dichotomy established a metaphor to express an inability to experience true reality and pointed to distortions created through filters constructed by our own minds.
Ceramic process informs my multidisciplinary practice through sculpture, photography, performance and installation. Focusing on the act of making as an extension of sentient being, I explore the intimate bond between maker and object. The material determines the outcome and the meaning of the object and/or its context reveals itself by means of involved investigation. Playing off of ceramic culture and tradition, I’m interested in re-contextualizing the ceramic object.
My most recent solo exhibition, Chapter IV: Painting with Fire presented at ESP Gallery, Toronto, comprised a collection of ceramic vessels and photographs produced during a residency in Skælskør, Denmark. By showing both test fragments and rejects alongside finished pieces, I allowed the viewer to examine and judge my edits and what I value. Similarly, by flattening three-dimensional objects through photography, I direct the viewer’s gaze to observe only one perspective of the object. I am interested in continuing to explore this relationship between perception and reality through what aspects of an object I choose to reveal.
Want to know more about this work? Read Katie Bethune-Leamen’s essay ‘Fungible Materialism—
Heather Goodchild & Naomi Yasui, ‘Last is First’ at Eastern Edge’ here