Curated by Shauna Thompson
The Esker Foundation
May 26th - September 2nd, 2018
Image credits: John Dean, Julia Brown
Vanessa Brown works in the space between strength and fragility through an alchemical fusing of steel, pigment, glass, and textile. Her work is hybrid and multidimensional: sculpture flirting with painting, symbolic narrative collage, a physical gestalt of states of consciousness. The Witching Hour brings together new installations and recent works, ranging in scale from larger-than-life to intimate. It is a proposal in material, colour, light, and sound; an invitation into an emotively charmed circle where magic, fantasy, and humour offer coded strategies to consider material histories, our connection to the natural and supernatural worlds, and gendered systems of labour, communication, and value.
Through a number of interrelated installations, Brown welcomes us into the liminal space between dreaming and consciousness, between the visionary and the here-and-now. Working primarily with steel, her imaginative formal constellations critique and counter the material’s traditional associations with the monumental, masculine, and its use in aggressive industry and military efforts. For Brown, the allure of steel rests in its subtler qualities, such as its malleability, adaptability, and delicateness attributes that allude to the rich territory of feminized narratives and material associations.