Installation view: Softening the Corners with Renée Van Halm, Privacy Screen, 1997


SOFTENING THE CORNERS curated by Corrie Jackson
Birch Contemporary, Toronto
July 2014
Colleen Heslin
Lili Huston-Herterich
Abby McGuane
Josh Thorpe
Renée Van Halm
Considering the dynamic between the body and the constructed form in which it finds itself, the works included in this exhibition offer alternate perspectives in how the body negotiates, informs and confronts material surroundings.
Works by Colleen Heslin include collage and painted fabric mounted on stretchers. Heslin unpacks the associations of gender, labour and material through alternative methods of painting, while taking up a modernist aesthetic based in reduction, limits and structure. Her work juxtaposes the modernist line with non-traditional methods of construction. Using scraps of fabrics, hand died by the artist, the artist’s use of fabric brings together traditional quilting techniques with the influences of minimal form and composition.
The restrictions of minimalist form are also taken up in Renée Van Halm’s Privacy Screen, 1997, which cites the infamous battle between Mies van der Rohe and his client Edith Farnsworth in her commission of a summer home. The construction of the glass house made the patrons body a constant element of display, the partitions in the home only reaching the patrons shoulders, leaving the head “wandering over the top of the partition without a body.” (Dr. Churchill, Farnsworth and the Anatomy of Occupation). The experience of furniture informing a body-awareness is carried on in works by Lili Huston-Herterich’s. Huston-Herterich’s wall mounted works bring together histories of domestic design and the changing ways that decorative modes interact and shape sensory experience. Read more.