Indepth Arts News: |
"Tegan Smith: Warmer"
2003-12-03 until 2004-01-03
Red Head Gallery
Fire, air, and water are less things than mobile forces, by turns life-sustaining and destructive, powerful and unpredictable. In a diverse practice ranging from drawing, sculpture, and video to site-specific installation, Tegan Smith's work has always addressed the volatile elements in a way that is rooted in her personal history and geography. Her extended exploration of breathing, for instance, which included interactive sculptures and drawings using sequences of punctuation marks taken from literary and philosophical works, was inspired by her own experience of respiratory allergies.
Warmer, a new installation at The Red Head Gallery, takes as its point of departure a modest if traumatic event: the burning down of Smith's garage. There is video footage Smith took the night of the fire, the garage engulfed in orange flames. Painted on the gallery wall is a blue skyline, and set on shelves near the floor are the charred, molten remains of the fire -- tools, an aluminum ladder. Smith is interested in the transformative effects of heat and fire, and in the combination of destruction and beauty. Warmer works through an interplay between the images of the actual fire and its remains. Fire, like oxygen, is impersonal and volatile. It burns whole forests, huge buildings, and small garages, and the fragments it leaves behind are mesmerizing in part because of the force they always refer back to.
Tegan Smith lives and works in Toronto. She received her MFA from York University in 1997 and has exhibited in Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Chicago. This is her first solo show at The Red Head Gallery.