Possible Forms or Actions is an installation of embossed drawings and cut vinyl that focuses on the role of visual syntax in lending order to experience. Mazurka’s work tests the communicative potential of pattern by sampling and combining visual references from diverse disciplines, such as architecture and biology, digital networks and futuristic popular films. In a drawing series titled Index, rules have been set to generate new hybrid forms, placing focus on the potential of pattern to transform materially and conceptually with limited means: lines, nodes, curves and geometric shapes. The resulting catalogue of hybrid systems is a science fiction that courses between disciplines openly and continuously, creating connections between diverse systems of knowledge. Mazurka’s cut vinyl patterns reference how the syntax we employ to structure our environments is a reflection of our thoughts, desires, and anxieties. Fusing design and informational languages from different periods, these works bring into focus the opposing, and sometimes contradictory, aesthetic approaches used to communicate within both physical and non-material realms of experience.
Anatomy and sewing patterns have always coexisted in Janet Shaw-Russell’s family history: her mother was a home-economist and her father a surgeon; both have left behind traces of their work in medical textbooks, journals, and notes. In the context of this personal history and the tradition of medical drawing, Shaw-Russell has explored the body as a fragile home. She has drawn its anatomy on translucent paper sewing patterns, delineating internal organs on delicate sewing patterns. Through drawing, printmaking, installation, and found objects, This Fragile Dwelling Place extends outward through personal and collective recollection. Tying together divergent streams of research and serendipitous connections, she mourns her parents’ deaths from cancer, while responding to the history of women’s rights, and the local tragedy of the 1916 Syndicate Block fire at the current site of the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba.
Natasha Mazurka, Index XI, hand embossed parchment paper, 11.75x16.5”, 2015 (detail)
Janet Shaw Russell, Heart on a Sleeve 2, coloured pencil on a sleeve pattern, 2013 (detail)