March 27 - May 15, 2010
being natural is a print and sculpture installation by Libby Hague, which investigates the consequences of human conduct, its aftermath and the recovery from their disasters.
Hague has developed a very special material vocabulary in her recent works. Moving from paper to pipe-cleaners to plaster and paint, she is creating spaces that invite the audience out of a perception of ‘solid and unassailable’ media. More than this, the artist is developing a modular set of elements that can be reoriented to convert spaces into artworks. Barb wire, thorns, flowers, birds and innumerable unnamed things will take control of the Gallery to create an immersive narrative of both natural and artistic processes. With flowing cascades of paper for a planned ‘red waterfall,’ an upside down forest, inventive sculptural elements and paintings that refuse to lie down on the wall, Hague will throw the Gallery open to the lively influence of Spring.
Indeed, Hague’s work focuses on the potential for re-growth in the wake of catastrophe. The narrative structure hinted at in the work will incorporate among its influences the Iliad and the songs of Christopher Logue. At the core of her unfolding and elusive story is the cyclical transition from crisis to recovery. She says the work is meant to suggest a post-human world in which the first new life forms are coming out of disaster to test new forms and create new life. Her sculptural pieces suggest this through the repetition of forms that consciously mimic the development and proliferation of the carbon atom into all the living forms we know today. They suggest an accidental accumulation of support and betray an organic way of working toward structure and form. The interdependence of her works’ structures may evoke a recognition of the tenuous stability of life.
Through the chaos of her ‘jumble’ of media and means, Hague produces work of no small impact. The congruence between her subject matter and her artistic method reinforces her metaphorical structure insofar as the artist herself submits to the uncertainty of achieving any definite end or meaning. She has knowingly freed herself of the certainty that a ‘painter’ or ‘sculptor’ may possess in producing work that falls neatly into categories. Likewise, her subject remains uncertain. That crisis is but a stage in evolution is clear. Yet, the final product of the transition out of emergency remains oblique, and all the more comforting for its refusal to be completely represented.
Libby Hague is a Toronto based artist who works primarily in print installation. Her work has been exhibited extensively across Canada and internationally. Hague is featured in the British book, Installations & Experimental Printmaking by Alexia Tala, published in March 2009. She is the recipient of several awards, including the 2009 Open Studio National Printmaking Award.
Hague wishes to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council through their Exhibition Assistance grant program. Many thanks to Gallery members and volunteers Arend Niewland, Basha Mayo, Michael Elvidge, John Smith, Jim Hong Louie, Jane Garland, Dave Robinson, Carol McNamee, Peter Hearn and Jensen Huehn for their valuable assistance.