Karin Jones & Amy Malbeuf: Labour’s Trace
Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond, BC
RICHMOND ART GALLERY, Richmond BC - Feb 15 - April 11
by Michael Turner
Among our more remarkable recognitions of late is our expanded understanding and appreciation of labour. No longer that invisible thing we do outside the extraction of raw materials, the manufacture of goods or the provision of services, labour can be “emotional” and “embodied” as well. For that we have artists like Karin Jones and Amy Malbeuf to thank.
In this exhibition, long-time RAG curator Nan Capogna has paired two artists of different backgrounds whose cultures have borne the brunt of a common historical narrative: colonialism. Jones, who is of African–Nova Scotian heritage, is an interdisciplinary artist and educator with extensive metalsmithing experience. Malbeuf, who is of Métis ancestry, is a multidisciplinary artist who works with materials (beads, animal parts) and knowledge (tufting, tanning) passed on to her by mentors. According to Capogna, “The objects they make reinforce connections to their cultural histories while disabling destructive legacies and historic representations.”
Through her pairing of leather horse tack, hominy (corn) kernels and human hair with handcrafted components of steel, silver and brass, Jones has created sculptures that confl ate adornment (jewelry) and constraint (manacle). For Tarp (2017), Malbeuf researched trending fonts and, using glass beads, applied the work’s title in serif text to the corner of a commercially produced tarpaulin, leaving the remainder of the polyethylene surface open to outcome. For Beaded Box (2017), the artist applied glass and plastic beads to a pre-made object; yet unlike Tarp, this cardboard system is designed to function best when closed.
Opening reception Feb 15, 2-4pm