polish

polish

Ace Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba
22 February - 23 March, 2002
Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
28 March - 18 May, 2003
Medicine Hat Museum & Art Gallery, Medicine Hat, Alberta
23 August - 5 October, 2003
Exhibition Catalogue PDF

[installation | performance | textile]

[collection of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts]

polish is a large collection of silver plated objects, gathered over the course of three years from Canadian flea markets and antique shops. Originally presented as part of an installation and performance piece, heaps of tarnished silver were displayed on a 24' long table as at a lavish banquet or trade fair. A performer sat at the head of the table ritually polishing. In preparation for the performance, each silver item was classified and labeled with a hand-written identification tag, with one linen napkin assigned to each object or subset of objects. As a result of the polishing process, the napkins were inscribed with the residues of tarnish transferred from object to cloth, and with the tiny tags removed from each object and pinned to the corresponding cloth.

tarnish is a large textile piece made from the soiled linen napkins stitched together. The culmination of its twin project, polish, this cloth was draped like a large drawing or dappled veil down the wall and across the floor. Multiple hands in the work add mark, texture, and layers of meaning (hired female attendants did most of the polishing)— colonial and settler histories; economies of obsolescence; collective memory, erasure and inscription; domestic labour; women's work; generational knowledge; skin, touch, embodied intelligence; time and residue.