Monday, September 14, 2015

Remembering the opening of Hard Twist 10: Memory

Icarus,  found lottery tickets, dental floss, by Rebecca Siemering
Memory one:
The traffic in the city was thick and intense, it took an hour to drive from the Riverdale area in East Toronto where we had family over to the Gladstone Hotel on Queen West.  It was also the opening night of the Toronto Film Festival - maybe that's why.
Rebecca Siemering collects scratch lottery tickets on her daily walk
Rebecca considers the hope that is held in those tickets, discarded with disappointment
Memory two: the lovely old manual elevator.  The friendly operator greets us as if we are old friends
Red Moons, vintage wool blanket, mended Judith e Martin
Memory three:
The crowd on the 4th floor where daughter and I search for my piece and don't find it. We go down to the 3rd floor where there are even more people because that is where the bar is.  We find my piece in a side hall.
Memory four:
My work doesn't look as proud as it was at the home studio.  It is across from Andrew McPhail's sequined bed sheet and that pleases me because our two pieces converse well with each other.
 Memory five:  Looking for art work I can respond to but so many people stand in the way, talking.
Jamie: Trousers on wood stretcher by Jamie Ashforth

Deconstructing these utilitarian objects exposes subtleties like stains, fading, smudges and tears, unintended marks that organically build composition and depth and embody memory.  Jamie Ashforth

Memory six:
Introducing myself to Jamie Ashforth and telling her that I appreciate her work.  The worn clothing and found textile objects that she has stretched around wooden frames make a simple and powerful statement.   Jamie introduced me to her aunt, grey haired like I am, who spoke about textile art "back in the day" when we were young too.
Susan: Poncho and wooden stretcher by Jamie Ashworth
Memory seven:
Finding one of the curators, Chris Mitchell, and speaking with her about the show.  Ms Mitchell told me that she felt that this 10th edition of the Hard Twist exhibitions was the strongest so far.  She said that there is a real need for venues for conceptual textile art and that the galleries don't give this genre enough space.  She thinks that this hotel space works well.
Chapter 2 page 1, silkscreen and hand painted pieces of mylar and discarded embroidery punch cards by Anu Raina
"This is a tribute to my beautiful mother to whom I had to bid good bye at the tender age of ten:  Anu Raina
Memory eight:  needing to go down a level to cool off.  It was really hot and crowded.
Memories nine and ten:
Looking at the art and photographing just a few.
Realizing that I need to go back.  I need more reflective time and space.  I need to not be so concerned with the networking aspect of being at an opening.


  1. Your work looks pensive, thoughtful, beautiful, not sad, some other amazing work as well love the lottery ticket pieces.

  2. What Debbie said.

    As to why? Something in us compels...starting a conversation, even if we're not sure anyone is listening.

  3. kathy loomis1:03 pm

    I'm so sorry you were disappointed with how your work was hung. It looks like the lighting was inadequate (a lot like the Dairy Barn at Quilt National this year). It's a beautiful piece and deserves better!

    I've been in shows where I thought they did a bad job of hanging my work and it just ruined the whole experience. Hope you can come back and look again and maybe be happier.

  4. Lovely many wonderful artists....Thanks Hard Twist !!!

  5. Kathy, I hope that this post didn't make everyone think I was disappointed in the way my own work was installed. It was a very hot and humid day, the place was packed, and my piece may (being 100 percent wool) may have picked up some of the humidity and was a little limp. The lighting and location of my work was just fine.

    Being one of a hermit nature is what I find difficult at group exhibition openings.

    The work by the other artists was interesting. The curators and jurors did a fine job.

  6. I was thinking along the same lines as Kathy Loomis (about the lighting), but drat if she didn’t beat me to it in the comments. Still, I was happy to read your response that this wasn’t the case after all. Your note about the heat and the humidity struck a chord with me though. I think the piece echoes how you were feeling, it was responding in the same way to its environment — hot, shy, nervous, exposed. I think we are so intimate with our work that to see it publicly displayed feels ever so slightly … and this is so not the right word … embarrassing. Not embarrassed to have done the work, or of the work itself, but there is a nakedness that I know I have experienced in similar situations and have been ever so thankful that someone was right there with me so I never had to be alone. And, oh no, to have to mingle and speak and sound smart and … and … and all this while naked.

    It’s very stressful.

    I think the same person who was with you on that evening was the same person who took the time to be with me back in June at my own opening … and, well, thank goodness for her.

    Congratulations Judy, it really is a lovely, sensitive piece.


  7. I absolutely detest openings. Have had a few [mainly back in the day when I was doing photography professionally] and they were all extremely difficult. Back then I didn't have a name - introvert - to attach to & define what I was feeling.

    Your piece is beautiful, Judy, and the show looks very interesting, filled with good voices including yours ;>)


  8. Sometimes, I don't understand art. I feel insulted and stupid for not 'getting it.' And angry with myself for being a judgemental asshole. What I see is a problem with my eyes, not with their intimate work.

    Then I realize how hard it is for me to put two squares next to each other and not feel like *I* am the one 'faking it,' trying to be something I'm not by simply sewing two squares together. I realize in those moments how stupid I really am for not getting art, that these people have an intimacy with what they're doing... and none of us ever have to 'get it.' We have to appreciate that whatever they created is where they were in that moment, what they wanted to express, either to themselves or to the world. I want to make it clear I never feel that way about your work. You inspire me. Part of your art is encouragement through your blog!

    With your work, I always 'get it,' even if I don't always know what motivates you or what you were feeling. It feels right. It's cloth. It's comfort, and to me it feels like true femininity; pioneering, too.

  9. why? well, the work gets seen, and the bigger work can be seldom seen in good venues...this reminds me that most of my exhibited work in the last several years has been book or bookish and often quite small. hmm...

  10. Velma, I do believe completely in exhibiting our work. Exhibitions give me a place where I can communicate my ideas and put the touching type art I do into the bigger conversation going on in the art world.

    What I question are the opening 'events'. Visual art is a slow one on one dialogue between the work and the viewer. The artist's job is over once that work goes into public venue.

    And thank you Amy and Jess and Sweet pea for your encouraging words. Amy, your statement about being naked while mingling and trying to sound intelligent was right on.

  11. one of the best things about being a visual artist rather than a performer ie dancer musician singer is that the work speaks for us and the openings are just a formality (although I still get nervous at every one)

  12. I remember once before I had an opening in Ottawa, the young daughter of the people I was staying with asked, "What happens at an opening? Are there lots of people dressed in black standing around holding martinis and trying to be sophisticated?" I said, "Yeah, that's about it."
    Looks like an interesting show, worth the time to see in a more contemplative atmosphere.

  13. I believe that I approached this opening in a naive way. I forgot that I was supposed to stand around with my glass of wine BESIDE my work and let people come to me. I was trying too hard to see the other work and meet the other artists rather than letting people come to meet me. Duh!

    And it is a fantastic show. If you go up to the curator Chris Mitchell's name and follow that link, the entire exhibition is there. Go see.

  14. Thank you for taking us to this show. The work--yours very much included!-- is striking in its impact. I imagine it is difficult to find your work along side so many others. I appreciate your very honest reflections.


Thank you for taking the time to connect. Much appreciated.xx