Sunday, January 31, 2016

Close to the heart

"Let no one say the past is dead.
The past is all about us and within.
Haunted by tribal memories, I know
This little now, this accidental present
Is not the all of me, whose long making
         Is so much of the past."                                    

from "The Past"   
- Oodgeroo Noonuccal

Joanna Close has created a textile tribute to the past in the form of nine hooked rugs depicting scenes from her family farm, a once profitable, now demolished property acquired by her ancestors in 1858 and handed down to successive generations until 2011.  Showing at the Owens Art Gallery in Sackville, N.B. until the end of February, the series documents the modest architecture and interior furnishings of a place that no longer exists, except in memory and faded photographs.

Joanna Close "Gram's House"  2012

Joanna Close "The Barn"  2012

Joanna Close "The Kitchen Stove" 2015
 The interior image of the kitchen stove is particularly strong, as it seems to conjure up the intimacy of a well-used domestic space and even its smell, a blend of wood smoke, bacon fat and basement damp that permeates many an old farmhouse.   The use of black and white helps to define the elements of the composition and suggests a link to the work of Edouard Vuillard, a painter known for his evocative interiors.

Installation view, "Documenting the Farm" by Joanna Close
Joanna Close studied textiles at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, and went on to earn her Master of Arts degree in Textile and Fibre Art at the Winchester School of Art in the U.K. in 2006.  She is a weaver and illustrator, and teaches at NSCAD University in the Textiles department.  Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions in Canada, the U.K. and China.  You can see more of her textiles and illustrations by visiting her website.

Entrance, Owens Art Gallery, Mt. Allison University, Sackville NB

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