435 King Street East, Cambridge, ON
Curated by Karly Boileau
Featuring works by Margaret Ballantyne, Mylène Boisvert, Marianne Burlew, Lyn Carter, Susan Warner Keene, Sylvia Kind, Barbara Todd, and Mindy Yan Miller
In Greek mythology, one’s life is predetermined by three sisters, collectively known as the Fates, who sit “spinning, twirling and twisting the threads of our destinies.” While our destinies may not actually be tied to a thread, fibres and textiles are found everywhere—from the commonplace to the unconventional.
The works in this exhibition, selected from Cambridge Art Galleries’ permanent collection of contemporary Canadian fibre art, offer a reflection on the impact and influence of textiles on our lives. Like the Fates, each artist in this exhibition has spun, twirled, and twisted their own stories exploring textiles in relation to the human condition, relationships, identity, the familiar, and the hidden.
Margaret Ballantyne is a Canadian who has a Master's Degree in textiles from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. Margaret's career in textiles includes conservation and exhibition preparation and teaching in Canada and the United States. Her own textile work is based on landscape in the pattern of woven cloth. Her conservation practice has included a full scale 16th Century tapestry housed at Trinity College University of Toronto and two major contemporary textile works by Micheline Beauchemin, housed in Ontario government buildings. Margaret also served as Conservator at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto, Ontario.
Originally from Drummondville, Quebec, Mylène Boisvert lives and works in Montreal. She completed her visual arts training at Concordia University and textile design training at Centre design & impression textile. She has several years of experience as a textile designer in the knitting industry (2001- 2006) and as a teacher at Centre design & impression textile and Centre des textiles contemporains de Montréal. Her works have been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Quebec, Canada and abroad. Some of her pieces are part of private and public collections.
Artist Statement: With an educational background in visual arts and textile design, I am interested in the common bonds between painting, sculpture and textile design. Flax fiber, especially in paper form, plays a prominent role in my work and is pivotal for exploring these artistic techniques. In my work, flax fiber in the form of fabric is turned into paper and then transformed into thread. I use this thread to construct large works. To create the work, I draw with linen paper thread in the same way I would draw with a pencil. Some of the works also incorporate papers made from abaca, cotton or Japanese mulberry. Taking my inspiration from the rich history of textile, I create textile constructions based on a personalized language and gestural expression. Keenly appreciative of the craftsmanship of paper making, I manipulate each sheet with techniques associated with textile design and painting, such as the use of pigments and natural coating
Marianne Burlew is an installation artist whose work focuses on themes of embodiment and the senses. Burlew holds an MFA from the University of Waterloo and a BFA from York University. During her graduate studies she was able to travel to London (UK) under the Win Shantz Scholarship to work for artists Saskia Olde Wolbers and Anne Hardy. Since 2011, Burlew has participated in a variety of artist residencies and exhibitions. Such residencies include the textile studio at the Harbourfront Centre (2012-2014 Toronto) and more recently a collaborative residency with Jacques Samson for an installation at Regart, centre d’artistes en art actuel (2016 Levis, QC). She has exhibited all over Ontario as well as in Paterson (NJ) and Alexandria (VA). Her work is part of various private collections as well as the Textile Collection at the Idea Exchange and the City of Ottawa Art Collection. Burlew currently lives in Ottawa and is part of the Enriched Bread Artists.
Lyn Carter is based near Grand Valley, Ontario. Carter completed her undergraduate work in Textile Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1978 and in 1994 completed a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from York University in Toronto. She works primarily in sculpture as well as drawing. She uses a variety of media to create her sculpture installations but textiles have long been the core focus of her work. Carter has exhibited both nationally and internationally. In 2008 she was invited to create new work for the 3rd Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art (Guangzhou, China) and in 2016 she was invited to exhibit her work in the Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art 2016, Zhejiang Art Museum (Hangzhou, China). Her solo exhibition, Lyn Carter: 11th Line, organized and exhibited at the Textile Museum of Canada (Toronto, Ont.) in 2015/16, was composed of site-specific sculptures, drawings and video. The exhibition toured to Peterborough Art Gallery (Peterborough, Ont.) in 2017 and the Musée d'art de Joliette (Joliette, Que.) in 2018.
Her work is represented in a number of permanent collections, among them the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, USA); Sheridan College (Oakville, Ont.); Cambridge Art Galleries (Cambridge, Ont.); the AstraZeneca Collection (Mississauga, Ont,); and the Dalhousie Art Gallery (Halifax, N.S.).
Sylvia Kind is an artist and educator. In 2006 she received a Ph.D. in Art Education and Curriculum Studies from the University of British Columbia and was awarded the Gordon and Marion Smith Award for Excellence in Art Education. Sylvia has been published in journals and contributed chapters to books. She is particularly interested in studio research, art as living inquiry, and the role of the atelier in early childhood. She is an exhibiting artist, working primarily in textile/fibre processes and photography and has been working closely with the Capilano University Children’s Centre as an atelierista. She also is an Adjunct Assistant Professor with the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria. She began teaching at Capilano University in 2007 and had taught previously at UBC in the teacher education program, in community and gallery settings, and as a Montessori pre-school teacher.
Barbara Todd, received her B.A. in fine art from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Through the 1980’s she lived and worked at the Banff Centre for the Arts. She has taught in the Studio Art Department at Concordia University, Montreal, and in the arts department at Emma Willard School in Troy. Barbara is an internationally recognized exhibiting artist, best known for her textile works. Todd has been commissioned to create a permanent public artwork for the St. Patrick Subway Station of the TTC in Toronto, installation date to be determined. Todd resides in Troy.
When I was seven years old my grandmother taught me how to knit. Our first project was a red mohair sweater. At about the same time another well-intentioned mentor helped me to sew clothes for my Barbie doll. It’s possible my career as an artist began then.
Jump ahead two decades. I was a museum educator, researching an exhibition of old appliqué quilts. Looking at them, reading about them, touching them, gave me the shivers. These quilts taught me that textiles, made for the home, could mean something.
The following year I began my own quilt, “Cover/Undercover” (a self-portrait, with all of my clothes represented in miniature appliqué shapes).
Since then, though I have worked with many different materials, and read and looked widely, textiles remain central to my practice. It’s the conversation between material and process and meaning that keeps me going.
Return to age seven. All this time I had been thinking that it was the choice of materials and processes that hinted at my vocation. It has taken decades to realize that it’s the relationships, the back and forth of hands and thoughts, that mattered, and that continues to make the work matter.
Susan Keene was born in Toronto and graduated from the Ontario College of Art in 1979. She has been an educator, writer, editor and curator. Keene works with textiles and handmade paper, often using flax and cotton fibre with dyes. In 1991, she was presented with the Saidye Bronfman Award and she was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2005. Her work is in Canadian embassies in Korea and Chile and in the collection of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, as well as many other public, corporate, and private collections.
Mindy Yan Miller was born in Sault Ste Marie and graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in 1990. She has also been a fine arts teacher at Concordia University. Miller’s family impressed upon her the importance of her Jewish identity, and some of her work (such as the installations constructed with clothing and human hair), reflect this. Other installations show Miller’s attitude to capitalism and popular culture. She has been the recipients of many grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des Arts et des lettres du Quebec and several professional development awards from Concordia University. Her work has been exhibited at Latitude 53, Edmonton, the Fe Gallery in Pittsburgh, Mercer Union in Toronto and other galleries across Canada.