Material Continuity

Material Continuity

Gordon Snelgrove Art Gallery, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 1995
Neutral Ground, Regina, Saskatchewan, 1996
Artspace, Peterborough, Ontario, 1996
Definitely Superior Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, Ontario, 1997
Forest City Gallery, London, Ontario, 1998

[installation: 24 mylar screens with hand-painted images, aluminum frame, aluminum sheets, audio]

Material Continuity both extremely objectifies the body and initiates a subjective act, which intensifies and reveals the oppositions that have left the body fragmented and rationalized. By hand-rendering a repetitive series of diagnostic chest cavity images on mylar screens which reference the dismemberment of the body by sophisticated medical imaging technology, Kavanagh has created a large three dimensional corridor in which the fragmented body hovers in space like a numinous medical hologram. Despite its technological look, the images are meticulously hand painted to scale and installed with menacing, suspended sheets of aluminum and an ambient audio component that shifts from the sounds of sliding steel to medieval chants.

In Kavanagh's work, there can be sudden transitions between metaphors for structures of power and rationalized assimilation. These shifts define, in a sense, a greater continuum of power structures which have deep historical roots and continue to despiritualize or depersonalize the body. These same easy shifts are also disquieting and provide the openings which invite an interrogation of the incongruities evident in so many orthodox methodologies. The ideologies are seen as far more threatening in these instances than the actual applications of technology.

Tim Nowlin, "Mysterium Tremendum: an exhibition by Mary Kavanagh," Forest City Gallery, London, ON, 1998.