Urban Fabric: Portraits of a City at the Textile Museum of Canada

Curated by Deborah Wang, this exhibition at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto runs from September 17, 2014-January 11, 2015 and features the work of Sheila Ayearst, Jessica Craig, Department of Unusual Certainties, Scott Eunson, Shlomi Greenspan and Scott Norsworthy.

The term “urban fabric’”often refers to qualities of the urban environment in terms of density; networks and exchanges both visible and invisible; the rhythm and patterns of streets, built form, and open spaces; and the movements of city dwellers. Urban fabric points to what is formal, tangible, hard or soft, but also to what is temporal and experiential – characteristics that cannot be seen. In this sense, fabric is almost always a stand-in for something else. A metaphor. A comparison with something unlike itself. Often, it points to matter and interactions. It conjures the “stuff” that makes up the city, but also aspects of its character. That is, fabric speaks to what a city is like. As recording devices and a means of communication that move through and inhabit the city, textiles also participate in life (urban or otherwise) as themselves.

Through photographs, paintings, sculpture, film, and pattern-making, the artists in Urban Fabric explore what it means to live in, and know, a place. Each creates a portrait of a city, often taking Toronto as their subject. Both Scott Eunson and Jessica Craig examine the co-existence of the city grid and the natural landscape, acknowledging geographic oddities, holes within the urban fabric, and what has been built up over time. Scott Norsworthy – drawn to seams, irregularities, and deviations – looks at the urban realm as a literal textile, photographing it in detail. Sheila Ayearst dwells on the material, the tangible, and the everyday, with her laborious paintings of concrete surfaces, each very specific, yet ubiquitous. Filmmaker Shlomi Greenspan takes us to a familiar “non-place”: the airport – a point of arrival and departure that disrupts ordinary patterns, and somehow escapes the specificities of place and time. Using the tactic of repetition, the Department of Unusual Certainties investigates the ways that technology transforms communication to generate a series of graphic patterns that appear in physical and digital realms through the museum and beyond.

Based in Toronto, Deborah Wang is an independent curator and designer. She completed her undergraduate degree in architecture at the University of Waterloo, and a Master of Fine Arts degree at OCAD University. Through her diverse practice, Deborah has curated and co-curated exhibitions for the Gladstone Hotel, XPACE Cultural Centre, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Women’s College Hospital, and Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects; taught design studio at Ryerson University; and co-founded FEAST Toronto (a series of community dinners and micro-funding events supporting local art projects). Currently, she splits her time as Creative Director of the Toronto Design Offsite Festival, a designer for superkul inc |architect, and as a scholar/maker.

The opening reception takes place on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 from 6:30pm to 8:00 pm. The curator and artists will be in attendance, and light refreshments will be served.

For more information, please visit www.textilemuseum.ca/apps/index.cfm?page=exhibition.detail&exhId=364