September 13 - November 9, 2014
In the exhibition Adaptation, two local artists, Jenny Iserman from Walkerton, and Iriz Pääbo from Elmwood, use the quilt as a medium and as a signifier. Together, each artist’s practice is complementary to the understanding of the other’s, suggesting the adaptations in memory, survival, culture and society that women’s work has always represented.
To engage with social questions pertaining to violence against women, Jenny Iserman from Walkerton, created a body of work called “Comfort/Discomfort.” Each large quilt she made based on those themes has a corresponding handmade book sharing its title. A quilt traditionally represents the work of women, separate from books and print, the realm of men. Iserman’s art seeks to address that imbalance. Her work also focuses on contemplation and reflection. We are bombarded with imagery and ideas at a whirlwind pace. Bringing texts and images into her quilts, Iserman invites deeper, unrushed contemplation. All of this is achieved by binding together traditional structures and techniques with new materials like digital imaging, wax, machine stitching and text. Quilted throughout the narrative are personal artifacts recycled for art and memory, like a friend’s discarded bridal gown or her mother’s skirt. In this way, each quilt is a testament to the artist’s major motivations: feminism, environmentalism, and social justice.
Iriz Pääbo from Elmwood, approaches quilting as a painter. Her process involved a search for the widest range of textiles, from the ancient to the contemporary, capturing selected windows of beauty or memory with oil and a palette knife. Her work explores how time folds in on itself, moving from the past into the future with visual cues that form our memory bank as individuals, families and communities. These quilt paintings are Pääbo’s “interpretation of the way that artifacts which are physical survivors of the past offer ways to experience the norms of other cultural worlds.” In this way, she uses the project to explore the parallels between contemporary and historical images.
Primarily a self-taught artist, Jenny Iserman's current art practice includes equal portions of mixed media, printmaking, quilt making and book art. Her work has been shown widely in group and juried shows. A number of her works received awards, and her Comfort/Discomfort project earned her a grant from the Ontario Arts Council.
Iriz Pääbo is a widely recognized artist whose work falls into a constantly shifting, complex art practice that encompasses auteur filmmaking, sculpture, painting, soundscapes, activist art and installation. HA’Aki - her most recent film with the National Film Board of Canada - was the winner of the Ars Electronica Golden Nica award for Best Computer Animation and Visual Effects in 2009.