World of Threads Festival 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

I'm so thrilled that three of my experimental books were selected to be included in this year's World of Threads Festival! The exhibition features 97 artists from 10 countries including Australia, Canada, France, Hungary, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, Japan, UK and USA.

The festival is held the Queen Elizabeth Park Community & Cultural Centre, (QEPCCC) in Oakville, Ontario and was co-curated by Dawne Rudman and Gareth Bate. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 2-4pm. The exhibition will continue through November.

Works included in the exhibition are: Diary of My Mind, Conductive Apparatus, and In Words Alone.

About the Festival:

The festival is an international showcase of contemporary fibre art. We are a not-for-profit initiative with charitable status. We exhibit innovative fibre based art from around the world and highlight the strength of our local talent. The Festival is run by dedicated volunteers Dawne Rudman (Chair & Festival Curator) and Gareth Bate ((Festival Curator). Exhibitions are carefully planned by various curators.

Beginning in 1994 as a single Oakville exhibition, the festival continues to grow in size and ambition. The exhibitions feature work submitted by hundreds of artists from around the world.

We will continue to be based in Oakville, Ontario. For Festival 2014 we will also have an exhibition in Mississauga. The town of Oakville, Ontario, Canada is located on Lake Ontario 45 minutes west of Toronto and is part of the Greater Toronto Area. Oakville has a vibrant cultural scene for which the World of Threads Festival is a prominent player. The festival draws visitors from across the region and internationally.

WOT - Solo Shows and Installations

So honored that my work was selected for this! Wish I could be there to see it in person.

CSI Night Photography

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Range Day

We took a spontaneous trip to the indoor range today with Jennie and Adam when we found out that on Wednesdays ladies shoot for free.

Birthday Brunch

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I had a special birthday thanks to my hubby who took me to the Hilltop House for a huge Sunday brunch.

Mr. and Mrs.

We had a great time at Corey and Alicia's Halloween party last night. As owners of a wedding venue we thought it was appropriate to go as a zombie bride and groom.

Zombie Run

I ran the zombie run again this year and did my best 5k time ever! So happy and proud.

Art/Salon Opening Tonight

Friday, October 24, 2014

I have several pieces in this exhibition.  If you are in Wilmington tonight, please join us!

Art/Salon @ Groove Jet
112 Princess Street
Wilmington, NC

Reception from 6 - 10 pm, October 24th.

Colorblind Opening Tonight

I have a small series of paper clay casts in this new show. The work is called Tabula Rasa and was created by first creating a plaster mold of a book. Then I made several casts made from plaster infused gauze and paper clay. Opening Reception starts at 7pm.

Colorblind: An Exhibition of Black & White Artwork

Presented by The Arts Council of Fayetteville
October 24 - December 13, 2014

An invitational exhibitions presenting the striking contrast of two- and three-dimensional works created in black and white.

Arts Council galleries are located at 301 Hay Street, Fayetteville, NC.
Admission is free.

Gallery Hours:

Monday - Thursday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. to noon
Saturday: noon to 4 p.m.
This exhibition was curated by the Ellington-White Community Development Corporation.

Arts Council Tonight

Thursday, October 23, 2014

We had a wonderful night out at the Arts Council's Annual Members Party. We also got a preview of the new exhibition Color Blind, Artwork in Black and White. You can see my wall piece (the 3 book casts) in the photo below.

I'm Feeling Lucky in Review

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I’m so pleased to have been included in I’m Feeling Lucky, an exhibition co-curated by Natasha Chaykowski and Alison Cooley, recipients of the 2014 Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators. The exhibition is on display at the Minarovich Gallery at the Elora Centre for the Arts and also includes artists Elizabeth MacKenzie, Alana Riley, Zoe Heyn-Jones, and Jessica Wiebe.

Chaykowski and Cooley posed two key questions that steered their findings for this experimental exhibition: Can an exhibition be curated using Google search? And if so, what are the implications on knowledge formation, art-world social structures, taste-making, and other pillars of curatorial practice?

Focusing on three thematic terms – “memory,” “knowledge” and “history”, and narrowing their search to artists working in certain media and within a given region, North America, the two discovered the work of the artists represented in the exhibition.

I’m Feeling Lucky functions on two planes; it is at once an exhibition of contemporary art that examines history and collective memory, and is simultaneously an exercise in questioning the currencies of exhibition production. The exhibition plays with ideas about the popularity of curating in a digital age, the mechanisms by which artists gain exposure, and the circulation of knowledge in contemporary art,” said Chaykowski and Cooley.

Vancouver-based Elizabeth Mackenzie’s multi-layered series of ambiguous portrait drawings called Reunion bring to mind notions of family, community, and the overlapping interconnections that exist between immediate and extended members of society. Upon a closer examination of the work, I began to understand that these individual portraits were of the same person. Some images offer slightly more facial recognition than others, which were reduced to mere suggestions of eyes, noses and mouths. I sensed something of history in the work, as if the artist was recollecting the past and conjuring up fading memories.

Reunion, 2001-ongoing. Powdered graphite on vellum.    

“Each of the hundreds of drawings within the Reunion project is based on a single photograph of my mother,” said Mackenzie. “She died in 1991, more than ten years before this project began, so the drawings were a way to call forth memories of her and give her a presence in the here and now. As I move through my own middle age, the same period of life I best remember my mother, I am increasingly aware of my own mortality, the limits of my life. As I grapple with aging I’m better able to understand the circumstances and struggles of her life.”

Tell Me Your Secrets and I’ll Tell You Mine, a wall installation featuring a series of wire forms encased in hog intestines, reflects on memory and identity and explores the space between intimacy and distantiation. There's an interesting duality that exists between the rusting wire structures and the fragile membranes that covers them – thin skins stretched over skeletal frameworks that are simultaneously repulsive and attractive.

When making this work, I was thinking about the experience of feeling alone in a crowded room and the detached, shallow conversations that often transpire at parties and other social gatherings. We all have a desire to be known and understood and yet we often remain guarded – wondering how people would react if we were to expose our true self. According to the developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, one must first have a solid sense of their own identity before they are able to experience intimacy and connection with other people. With a strong sense of self, it’s easier to open up to others, and be known in an authentic way.

Tell Me Your Secrets I’ll Tell You Mine is an expression of these ideas. The installation resonates a visceral vulnerability similar to the delicate nature of relationships in our modern society. Some of the forms are grouped together in clusters and some are separated from the others. Each form has an opening that allows viewers to get a glimpse of what is inside – a small offering of written communication. Some of the openings are wider, allowing for better insight, and some are more closed off, as if sheltering it’s self and withholding the secrets within.

In an essay about the exhibition Chaykowski and Cooley write, “In the reiteration of organic-like forms, the work similarly evokes the themes of remembering as repetition and memory as always never fully accessible, that are expressed visually in both MacKenzie’s and Riley’s work. Repeated forms, gestures, and secrets here all speak to the ways in which memories hide in the fissures of time and material”.

Tell Me Your Secrets and I’ll Tell You Mine, 2012. Wire, gut, wax, paper, and fabric.

Works included in the exhibition:

Elizabeth MacKenzie, Reunion, 2001-ongoing. Powdered graphite on vellum.

Visual artist and freelance photographer Alana Riley’s The Impact of Six Months, 2010. Digital print.

Jessica Wiebe, Root of Funding, a Peaceful Irony, 2013. Collage

Jessica Wiebe, Children’s Scribbles Lifting Kites, 2013. Collage.

Zoe Heyn-Jones, a Toronto-based researcher and visual artist who creates handmade Super 8 and 16mm films. Graces, 2014. Super 8 film converted to digital and installation.

Leslie Pearson, Tell Me Your Secrets and I’ll Tell You Mine, 2012. Wire, gut, wax, paper, and fabric.

The exhibition will run from October 11th – November 29th, 2014.

Elora Centre for the Arts
75 Melville Street, Elora, ON N0B 1S0

Gallery Hours:
Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm
Saturday & Sunday, 12 - 4pm
Sundays after Oct 11, closed

5th Element Closing

Friday, October 17, 2014

I spent the evening with these lovely ladies for the 5th Element closing reception.

Girls Night

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Art and Craft

Material Seduction

A look at Process Artists of the 1960’s and 1970’s who used fiber based materials in the creation of their work.

I recently revisited a book called String, Felt, Thread, by Elissa Auther who examines the history of the hierarchy of art and craft in America and details the significant changes in the attitude and reception of fiber as a material choice in the creation of fine art. Until the middle of the 20th Century, artists working with materials that were closely associated with utilitarian purposes were considered “craftsmen” rather than “artists” and essentially fell into a subcategory within the art world. It was really only painters and sculptors who were considered fine artists because their work was thought to transcend the materials themselves. According to Auther, there were three main groups that emerged in the 1960’s and 1970’s who were in support of fiber as a legitimate material choice in the creation of fine art: members of the American Fiber Arts, Process Artists, and Feminists (1).

There were several notable exhibitions that helped launch Fiber Artists into the fine art scene, namely Wall Hangings, which was curated by the Museum of Modern Art’s Mildred Constantine and the textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen. However, the boundaries between art and craft continued when Artforum critic James Collins, in his review of the New York Cultural Center’s exhibition Soft as Art labeled works in fiber into either a “process” category or a “craft/fetish” category.

Among those considered Process artists were established sculptors Eva Hesse and Robert Morris. Ironically, while pro-fiber artists and curators were striving to redefine fiber based works as “fine art” instead of “craft” by emphasizing concept and negating the material itself, Process Artists were creating work using materials for their inherent visceral and tactile qualities.

It was believed by those aspiring to transcend from craft to fine art that skill, technique and specific materials must be devalued and concept be elevated. With this strategy, they were aiming to be known as “innovators of art rather than low laborers of craft” (1).

Process Art has been defined as “an artistic movement as well as a creative sentiment and worldview where the end product of art and craft, the objet d’art, is not the principal focus. The 'process' in process art refers to the process of the formation of art: the gathering, sorting, collating, associating, and patterning. Process Art is concerned with the actual doing; seeing the art as pure human expression. Process Art often entails an inherent motivation, rationale, and intentionality. Therefore, art is viewed as a creative journey or process, rather than as a deliverable or end product” (6).

Eva Hesse’s works in fiber were able to gain the respect of the avant-garde art world. She was never labeled as a fiber artist or a craftsperson, but was seen as a sculptor who was employing the use of “alternative material” - string, thread, and fabric. While these materials have been used by craftsmen for centuries, Hesse used them in a non-traditional, non-utilitarian way.

In The Tangled Web She Wove, Kristen Osborne notes that Hesse’s work engaged in themes of obsession, absurdity, blankness, and its meticulous creative process. “Hesse sought to deconstruct the seemingly inextricable relationship between artist and his or her art by imbuing her art pieces with a life of their own” (5).

For example, Contingent (Figure 2) is made of eight banner-like elements that hang from the ceiling. Each of these elements consists of a large rectangular stretch of latex-covered cheesecloth embedded at each end in a translucent field of fibreglass. The banners hang parallel to each other and at right angles to the wall. Hesse began work on Contingent in November 1968 before she became ill with a brain tumor that ended her life at age 34. In an interview with Cindy Nemser, Hesse describes the work: “It was latex rubber over a cloth called ripple cloth which resembles another version of cheesecloth. It has a more interesting weave (I guess I have some kind of interest in material) and reinforced fiberglass — clear” (4).

Artists such as Hesse, Claus Oldenburg, Louise Bourgeois, Bruce Nauman and Keith Sonnier were gaining attention for the subliminal suggestion of organic sensuality and human anatomy found in their work. This was a contrast to the solemn minimalist work of artists such as Donald Judd and Carl Andre. Although Hesse pays homage to many of the ideas behind minimalism (seriality and spacial transformation), the use of soft, flexible, fiber based materials offered an emotional and sensual appeal that was absent in minimalist work (5).

While the majority of fiber artists were women and were struggling to overcome the female stereotypes associated with homespun handcrafts, Hesse’s work openly engaged issues of femininity, the body, logic, and the unconscious. She used bulbous shapes, hair-like tendrils, sheer materials that look like skin, and explored the exchange between hardness and softness.

Robert Morris was using felt in his sculptural wall pieces and installation especially for its materiality. He was interested in the unpredictability of industrial felt and allowed it to be expressive in its own right. He explored the ways it behaved when stacked, draped, folded, hung, cut into pieces, or dropped into a tangled heap. In an essay for Artforum titled "Anti Form," Morris stated: "Random piling, loose stacking, hanging, give passing form to the material. Chance is accepted and indeterminacy is implied since replacing will result in another configuration" (Figure 1) (7).

In an interview with Simon Grant, Morris said, “The early felt works had multiple positions—sometimes thrown on the floor or hung on the wall. But once the works were photographed nobody wanted to hear about alternative positions. And of course works on the wall are easier to deal with than things on the floor so the wall option became the preferred position. I suppose this illustrates Duchamp’s remark about how art quickly loses its aesthetic smell and becomes frozen and arid. Anyway some of the works involving many separate pieces could of course never be installed twice in the same way. These maintained their indeterminate status more than the works made of larger sections” (9).

In contrast to the way Morris’s work in felt was intellectualized by critics (in part due to his own writings and theorizing on the state of sculpture during his time), Eva Hesse’s work in string, rope and cord was openly and positively assessed as non-logical, eccentric, and even inspired by craft. However, these associations did not lead to a dismissal of her work as non-art.

In a 2010 interview with the University of Minnesota Press, Auther said it was the feminist art movement that had the biggest impact on the way fiber is used in art today. “Feminist artists involved in the critique of the hierarchy of art and craft helped to legitimize the personal as an appropriate subject for art, resulting in an unprecedented expansion of artistic form and practice. Although they did not render the hierarchy of art and craft defunct, the women’s art movement was ultimately more successful in expanding the category of art to include fiber because its agenda, not to mention its audience, far exceeded the provincial borders of the art world in the 1970s” (8).

Where Process artists simply turned to fiber as an arbitrary material, feminists latched on to its historical roots and set out to reclaim traditional techniques and mediums from its “lesser than” critical regard (3). However, Hesse died before the feminist movement really took off. She was somewhat of an anomaly in that she was very successful as an artist in a time when women artists were only starting to become acknowledged – and she was seen as an artist even though she was using fiber based materials.

 - Leslie Pearson

Untitled, 1976, from the seminal Felts series by Robert Morris

Contingent, 1969. Cheesecloth, latex, fiberglass. Eva Hessa


1. Auther, Elissa. String, Felt, Thread - The Hierarchy of Art and Craft in American Art. University of Minnesota Press. 2010.
2. Have I Reasons: Work and Writings, 1993–2007 by Robert Morris and Nena Tsouti-Schillinger. Duke University Press Books. Feb 22, 2008.
3. Loomis, Kathleen. Fiber Art – The Poor Stepsister. Art with a Needle. Thursday, October 14, 2010. Accessed on Monday, April 12, 2011.
4. Nemser, Cindy, in Nixon, M. Ed. October Files: Eva Hesse, Cambridge and London, MIT Press, 2002.
5. Osborne, Kristen. The Tangled Web She Wove—Eva Hesse’s Metronomic Irregularity II. Accessed on Monday, April 12, 2011.
6. Process Art. Wikipedia. Accessed on Monday, April 12, 2011.
7. Robert Morris, “Anti Form,” Artforum, April 1968, reprinted in Continuous Project Altered Daily: The Writings of Robert Morris, Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press, 1993
8. University of Minnesota Press. Wednesday, February 10, 2010. Accessed Monday, April 12, 2011.
9. Wool, Felt, and Textiles. An Interview with Robert Morris by Simon Grant. Friday, May 1, 2009. Accessed on Monday, April 12, 2011.

I'm Feeling Lucky

Saturday, October 11, 2014

My sculptural wall installation, Tell Me Your Secrets, I'll Tell You Mine, is in a new exhibition called I'm Feeling Lucky. The exhibition opens tonight at the Elora Centre for the Arts Minarovich Gallery in Ontario, Canada.

I’m Feeling Lucky, is an experimental curatorial project that questions both the assumed authority of a curator and the ubiquity of Google as an epistemological implement. The exhibition seeks to expose the underlying value apparatuses that legitimize art objects and practices and engages with notions of collective memory, historical consciousness and the history of knowledge. 

Co-Curators Natasha Chaykowski and Alison Cooley are the award recipients of the 2nd annual Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators.

Elora Centre for the Arts

75 Melville Street, Elora, Ontario, Canada, 

N0B 1S0. 519.846.9698

October 11 to December 1, 2014. 

The opening reception will be held Saturday, October 11 between 2pm and 4pm.