Liz Magor at Catriona Jeffries

This has to be one of the strangest exhibitions I’ve seen in a long time. These sculptures by Liz Magor, a Canadian born, Vancouver-based artist were quite confusing to say the least.

Upon entering the gallery, we (my son and I) encountered a room full of what appeared to be boxes of varying shapes and sizes, looking as if they had been randomly placed on the floor or propped up against the wall. The first sculpture was of a pink dog sitting atop a cardboard box which was mounted on the wall.

Liz Magor - Pink Pet, 2016 | Polymerized gypsum
Liz Magor – Pink Pet, 2016 | Polymerized gypsum

On reading the gallery handout, it seems that Magor takes disused and old, found objects and repurposes them into sculptures. This pink dog above was probably once a gorgeous fluffy toy, possibly  discarded and found in a skip, which has now been transformed with another type of coating/exterior, one that appears to be decay resistant. Strangely though, the dog faces the wall and does not reveal itself to the viewer. Ashamed of its new form? Or ashamed of the road it has travelled to reach its current situation, which seems to be forever posed upon a dirty discarded box, instead of being lovingly cared for by a young child?

It seems that Liz Magor raided the local Salvation Army thrift store and the skips in the back alleys to find some of her ready-mades. Clothing that dates back to the 1950’s or 1960’s were draped or folded and displayed on cardboard boxes.

Liz Magor - New Society, 2016 | Polymerized gypsum, plastic bag, nylon stockings
Liz Magor – New Society, 2016 | Polymerized gypsum, plastic bag, nylon stockings

The boxes have been given a new lease on life. A coat of paint and their purpose (or is it fate) has gone from being destined for the compactor to a life of display in an art gallery.

Out of date and worn garments move away from their exhausted status and are reminded of their commitment to the body. In all the works dismissible things forge relationships with disposable things as they are reacquainted with their origin in manufacturing and packaging.

Catriona Jeffries Gallery (2016)

This exhibition has me back to the age-old question again. Is this really art?

Reference List

Catriona Jeffres Gallery (2016) Liz Magor. Vancouver. Catriona Jeffries Gallery.

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