Medicine Hat Museum & Art Gallery, Medicine Hat, Alberta
23 August - 5 October, 2003
[Collection of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts]

installation | performance | textile

tarnish is a textile piece made from a collection of soiled linen napkins stitched together into a large cloth or veil (12'x30').

tarnish is the culmination of its twin project, polish, which presented a 24' long table laden with silver plated objects. A performer sat at the head of the table ritually polishing each object. As a result of the process undertaken in polish, the napkins were doubly inscribed: with the residues of tarnish transferred from object to cloth, and with the corresponding identification tags pinned to each cloth.

Both projects, polish and tarnish, were exhibited in four prairie venues: Ace Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB; Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery, Moose Jaw, SK; Medicine Hat Museum & Art Gallery, Medicine Hat, AB; and the Trianon Gallery, Lethbridge, AB. The multiple hands in the work (hired attendants did most of the polishing) add to the layering of meaning – collective memory, domestic labour, colonial histories, prairie histories, obsolescence, ritual, restoration, and the knowledge that emerges from touch.