First, if you could tell us a bit about yourself and your work.
Born and raised in Toronto, I completed a Biology Degree at McMaster University before attending the Drawing & Painting program at OCAD University.
Through a variety of media and techniques my work explores the psychological context of medical visualizations of the human body. Specifically, I am interested in how modern medicine has developed within the digital realm to interpret the physical body as a set of data, which is then translated into an image. Through this process of interpretation, translation and representation, the body ultimately becomes abstracted and recontextualized by the digital language.
My knitting and textile work takes this digital language and transforms it back into a physical, tactile object. The handmade quality and the language of Craft suggest a subjective process of construction and interpretation that dramatically contrasts the objectivity of medical science.
In addition, the inherent quality of the knit and textile work as an object of warmth, comfort and domesticity reengages the individual with the sterile medical imagery. The emotional and physical responses elicited by the textile forms create an intimate space for the viewer to re-experience the medical body.
Since graduating OCAD University, I have been fortunate to exhibit my work at the Gladstone Hotel, Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts, and as a part of The World of Threads Festival. I am currently working on a textile piece for The Sick Kids Hospital Foundation.
What initially drew you to creating an installation of anatomical sculptures out of yarn?
The initial inspiration for my knitted anatomy pieces came from the Body Worlds exhibit that the Science Centre hosted in 2009. I had never seen anything like it. The exaggerated colours and postures of the displays struck me as simultaneously absurd, contentious, and fascinating. I immediately began thinking about the spectacle of the medical body and how individuals react or relate to it. I saw yarn and knitting as the perfect medium for commenting on the medical body as a novelty. All I had to do was learn how to knit.
Through the making of Anatomical Self, how did your approach to materials change as you began to assemble various parts of anatomy?
Initially I picked yarn as the primary material for my project because of the association with Craft, the handmade, and domesticity. I wanted to create anatomical imagery that invited the viewer to re-experience and reconsider the medical body. I felt that yarn would create anatomy that was both physically and conceptually comforting, creating a safe space for the viewer to approach the familiar form from a new perspective.
Not being a knitter previous to this project actually gave me a huge creative advantage. I had no preconceived set of rules or framework that I felt I had to abide by to make my work. I quiet literally made it up as I went along, learning only the techniques that I needed to get by. The more that I knit, and the more I picked through various yarn stores, the more I realised what a fantastically diverse and malleable medium knitting can be. I began combining wools, integrating plastics, and experimenting threads, lace & other textiles. I even experimented with knitting metal chain (although that didn’t make it into the final piece).