installation | performance | process
Collection of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts
tarnish is a textile piece made from a collection of linen napkins stitched together into a large cloth or veil (120"x300"). The napkins had first been used to polish a large collection (1000 pieces) of silver plate objects.
This piece is the culmination of its twin project, polish, which presented a 24' long table laden with silver. 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 tiny identification tags removed from each object and 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. At each venue, as the polishing progressed, napkins were stitched onto the large cloth. 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, symbolic gesture, and the knowledge that emerges from engaging in ritualized, repetitive acts.