A couple of years ago, I had a vision of a painted scene with butter yellow walls. It bounced around my head for months, like a screensaver that would come on when my thoughts went idle. As I focused more on trying to flesh out the hazy image I saw, blips of beautiful patterned dresses would appear - sometimes purple, sometimes blue. At that time, I was mulling over how I could place pattern into my work in a way that was meaningful. At the same time, I was contemplating how I could become more engaged and less passive in how I selected the content of my paintings. Up to this point, the main point of inspiration for the bulk of my work had come from what I saw on walks throughout the city; fresh produce displayed outside storefronts, handwritten signage taped to the inside of windows. I was engaging in some kind of window shopping that focused on the view in, rather than the view out. This also was around the time I went to Finland for the first time, and became enamoured with all things patterned (Arabia, Marimekko, Dora Jung, to name a few). To make a long, boring story short, all of these thoughts and interests converged one day when I was putting away laundry in my closet. There in front of me I saw beautiful patterned dresses hanging side by side, next to old plastic garment bags with faded yellow dry cleaning receipts still attached. Fast forward two years later, and I am happy to present this new body of work to you.
Five Dresses is an exhibition inspired by the dropping off and picking up of the same dresses at different dry cleaners throughout the city. Working exclusively in gouache on paper, this collection of new paintings catalogues the passing details encountered during these outings: hand written slips, plastic garment bags, office supplies, clothes hangers, assembly lines. These paintings are aleatory by nature; they exist solely due to chance encounters in local businesses. The compositions are incidental, as they were not arranged by me. The five dresses remain the constant, allowing the viewer to thread together an incidental narrative.
Thank you to the Toronto Arts Council for supporting this project, and to Rushton Dry Cleaners, Ellis Cleaners and La Rosa Dry Cleaners for working with me.