The Hidden House Catalogue of Artisanal Brassieres
Port Saint John Gallery | November 5 – December 17, 2021
My practice is to explore a theme through numerous works. The Hidden House Catalogue of Artisanal Brassieres consists of one hundred and fifty drawings that imagine garments to express personality and empowerment, confront indignity, and remonstrate against the unquestioned assumptions of the Male Gaze in all of us. This series uses gentle, encouraging humour, mostly appreciatively but sometimes satirically as required. There are darker images, too, as there exists darkness in the full range of experiences artisanal brassieres must accommodate. The Catalogue is meant to entertain and remind, challenge and provoke.
I began making images on pages from an 1811 Latin text around 2015. Years before that I rescued the volumes from being shredded for animal bedding. Eventually I realized I was only deferring their inevitable fate and I decided to use leaves from the books in my practice as a way to preserve these beautiful examples of hand-set type on handmade paper. In the Brassiere series the colourful imagery subverts the patriarchal rigidity inherent in the typographic composition of the pages they’re drawn onto. I use the text as both framing device and visually neutral tone, giving each figure a space within which to exist.
Bob Morouney was artist in residence on the Moon. He can tell you watercolours are useless there. So is ink. Pencils work, though he says it is odd not to hear them scratching on the paper. There is no air on the moon to conduct sound. But he says you can kind of feel the pencil scratch the paper through the space glove. His advice: put a little rope on it or lose the pencil. Bob recommends 2B. Bob hasn’t travelled anywhere interesting lately. But that’s okay. He likes to read and he draws and paints and just for the hell of it he writes a new artist bio every day. This isn’t one of them. This is his professional bio. He learned a pencil dropped on the Moon falls slowly. He was often quick enough to catch the pencil before it hit the dust and got lost. Bob soon found drawing on the Moon boring, not like at home, and there was too much rigmarole just to stay alive.