Drawing from archeology, anthropology and traditional craft, the artists in Working Back engage in sculptural interventions with once discarded things. Gareth Moore, Kerri Reid and Kara Uzelman manipulate found objects, shifting their forms and values, blending stories and histories on re-created or re-contextualized surfaces. Their artworks are linked to different places and times, and yet they are brought into the gallery with an awareness of their shifting roles articulated within their very structures.
After studying archeological technique and theory for six months, Kara Uzelman performed an excavation of her Strathcona backyard. She made sculptures with some of her findings, left others as they were, and then hosted a garage sale around the dig in order to find new homes for the lost commodities, some of which had been buried for over 50 years. Since then she has been using the unearthed objects as source material. In Working Back she will present a re-formed installation based around this project.
Kerri Reid fixes damaged utilitarian objects that she has discovered abandoned in her neighbourhood. However, before doing so, Reid studies their materials and makes multiples of the objects in their broken forms. By finely crafting useless, broken things, and then placing them in a pristine gallery, Reid draws attention to the abstract nature of contemporary value systems.
Gareth Moore also reconfigures materials that he encounters in his daily life. For Working Back he will show photographic documentation of ephemeral sculptural forms made with things found in proximity to one another in the waste sites that surround the urban environment. In the gallery the pictures will become part of sculptural forms that draw attention to the images’ inherently archival roles, and the lost forms they represent.
This briocolage of fossilized commodities could be closely linked to the work of children, whose imaginative alchemy can turn closets into caves, and tinfoil into silver. However, the artists in Working Back draw attention to the bewildering interactions between people and objects through sophisticated dialectical images; fragmented historical ruins.
This exhibition is curated by Jesse Birch, a candidate to the Masters Degree in Critical and Curatorial Studies at The University of British Columbia.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Alvin Balkind Fund for Student Curatorial Initiatives, the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, and the Faculty of Arts at The University of British Columbia. Kerri Reid’s work was produced with the assistance of the Toronto Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts.