Present Imperfect, Future Tense, 2011
Group show including Kelly Gough, Catherine Lavelle and Sarah Stein at Gallery Fukai, Vancouver BC
Curated by Sarah Stein
The dialogue created by the artists in Present Imperfect, Future Tense questions the choices we make. Attempting to mediate the uncertainties of a complex present, they allegorically reference environmental, social, and economic considerations. There are no answers here, but an unsettling openness—the unknown space ahead is where choice is leading us.
Kelly Gough’s sculptural forms are created through a repetitive process of linking everyday materials. Often using copper wire to fasten these objects, this industrial material forms an alliance with more common elements to create a hopeful allegory for social change. Swarm hovers above the viewer, obsessive in its process and materiality, reflecting the complexity of finding solutions “within a seemingly permanently damaged context”.
Catherine Lavelle’s ephemeral paper works represent an inevitable end to life. At the same time, these body bags created from paper sales receipts suggest that we consider our choices carefully, that the consumption-as-identity ideology that we may follow denies us a true self. As time passes, and the markings on the receipts fade, so too does the link between our bodies and what we have consumed.
The installation by Sarah Stein questions desire and motivation itself, measuring response to the multiple meanings of a single word: more. What is it we want more of? What are we willing to do to get it? What mores guide our decisions and actions? The embodiment of desire, of the struggle to have, is manifested by reaching upwards—leaving a mark on the wall that suggests both an individual and collective struggle, expressed over time through audience interaction.
Using both visual metaphors and written language as an infrastructure, these artists articulate personal and social anxieties. For verbs, the imperfect present form refers to the past, and is continuous, or repeated, while the future tense has not yet happened, but implies probability and intent. As it is for verbs, it may be for us: the present is imperfectly habitual, perhaps even unconscious about continuing actions or methodologies, while the future is unrelentingly uncertain, but containing every possibility.