Gallery’s latest exhibit hanging by a thread
Art: Work of talented Toronto artist Amanda McCavour on display until June
Wednesday, Apr 05, 2017 06:00 am
The latest Okotoks Art Gallery installation is hanging on by a thread.
Toronto artist Amanda McCavour is giving art lovers a new appreciation for needles and thread with her unique exhibit Daydream.
She used a sewing machine to stitch thread onto dissolvable fabric to create a large-scale embroidery that represents an apartment. Daydream will be on display in the large gallery April 8 to June 3.
“These pieces look really fragile, but you can’t tear them apart,” she said. “Thread is amazing material. Once you sew them they have lots of strength to them. They look delicate but they have a structure and strength to them.”
During the past decade, McCavour has created various bodies of work in this unique style that appears as if each piece is on the verge of falling apart and could easily be unraveled.
“I guide the fabric and change the angles of the fabric so it creates the drawing,” she said. “On average each one takes about two years. I start off small and I keep adding and adding.”
Daydream was inspired by apartments McCavour has previously lived in.
“I’ll take pictures of my apartment I’ve moved out of and start drawing the pieces of furniture,” she said. “I’ll trace that onto the fabric with a pen and start to stitch. They are all life sized.”
The installation will be set up to give the illusion of walking into someone’s living room, McCavour said.
It will consist of three rooms based on existing spaces and a floating garden of 500 stems of flowers – ranging from daisies to English asters - hanging individually from the ceiling.
“People will be able to walk around all of the pieces and see the pieces from all different angles and you will be able to experience them in the space,” she said.
“Hopefully people will get to interact with them in different ways.”
So far, Daydream has been exhibited at the Memorial University in Newfoundland, McCavour said.
“There was a really casual vibe,” she said. “For the floating garden people would hang out underneath it. They felt really comfortable with the works.”
McCavour earned her bachelor of fine arts degree at York University and recently completed her masters of fine arts in fibres and material studies at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and has since earned various grants and awards for her work.
McCavour came across embroidery while learning about lines at York University when she was doing her undergraduate degree.
“I wanted to make a drawing that existed only out of thread but I didn’t know how to do it,” she said. “I had pretty much zero experience with fibre.”
McCavour began stitching thread onto paper and tearing the paper away, then moved onto wax and finally fabric that dissolves in water to create larger installation pieces.
In her recent search to find galleries to exhibit Daydream, the Okotoks Art Gallery caught her eye.
“I was interested in the history of it,” she said. “It’s an old train station, which is interesting because the work I’m putting up is based on old rental spaces. This space has history to it.”
McCavour was intrigued by stories there might be a ghost of a young woman haunting the former train station. In fact, she said that’s what makes the Okotoks Art Gallery appropriate for her installation.
“The pieces that I make are embroidered and they have this ghostly quality to them,” she said. “They’re hung from the ceiling so they move with the flow of air. There’s the sense that they are there but they’re not there.”
The Okotoks Art Gallery is open to the public Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Viewers can meet McCavour at an artist reception April 8 at 1 p.m.