For this exhibition Liz Magor presents a handful of jewel-like sculptures that float on the gallery walls. Continuing with her long-term use of casting and mold-making, each sculpture is essentially composed of containers resting on top of other containers. The primary component being unique casts of crumpled boxes beaten and battered to the point of losing their characteristic cubic form. Produced by casting the inside of boxes with pigmented polymerized gypsum, the result is photographic; the positive surface exposes the unseen negative space of their interior. Since the boxes are sealed shut prior to casting, the objects that may have been stored inside now rest on top: a single glove, a would-be hand, offers something special. The things themselves have little use value but are charged with too much meaning to throw away.
This new body of work examines how the function of an object—in this case, a container—when layered with other objects, shifts to become a surface. Or, as Magor describes: an inadvertent shelf. This is not a process of simulation, but rather a question of display. In previous work, Magor investigated the potential for found, natural objects (beer, sleeping bags, cigarettes) to burrow within the open, interior space of cast, intentional objects waiting to be revealed. Whereas here, because the sculptural objects are essentially closed, the found objects (colourful stuffed birds) lay presented, accessible. However, a complication arises since each collection is then cocooned in layers of cellophane. What is the point of this ultimate return to enclosure? Storage, giftwrapping, or perhaps just protection against the dust that will invariably settle overtime.
Liz Magor was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1948. She has shown extensively in Canada, and internationally, including such exhibitions as the 4th Biennale of Sydney, Documenta 8, and the XLI Biennale di Venezia. She has had solo exhibitions at the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; The Power Plant, Toronto; Art Gallery of York University, Toronto; the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Her work has been included in recent group exhibitions at Marburger Kunstverein, Marburg, Germany; Vancouver Art Gallery; Haunch of Venison, New York; The National Gallery of Canada; MuHKA, Antwerp, Belgium. Currently, her work is on view at Peep-Hole, Milan and The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. In 2001, she received a Governor General's Visual and Media Arts award; in 2009 the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts; and in 2014 the Gershon Iskowitz Prize.