Carleton University Art Gallery CUAG

Erin Shirreff: Available Light

Curated by Sandra Dyck and Jan Allen; Produced with Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University, and the Contemporary Art Gallery

13 February – 22 April 2012

The Kelowna-born, Brooklyn-based artist Erin Shirreff is garnering international acclaim for her diverse body of work – photographs, videos, and sculptures – which is united in its singular focus on objects by turns extraordinary and banal. Shirreff is compelled not by the cultural meanings of objects, but by their resolute objecthood, their very “blankness.”

Shirreff’s delicate, shape-shifting abstract sculptures of compressed ash are informed by her interest in our encounters (whether in person or through photographs) with the enigmatic and often unyielding forms of classic mid-20th-century minimalist sculptures. Her silent videos of iconic objects like the 30 Rockefeller Plaza building in New York, or the moon, or the monumental Roden Crater in the Arizona desert, are based on photographs sourced on the Internet and in books, reshot serially and used to generate not-so-seamless montages that subtly reveal their constructed nature while drawing attention to the ways images mediate our understanding of the world. The handmade clay forms that are the subject of her spare “documentary” photographs do not call to mind particular objects, creating a space, as she has said, “for wondering and the potential and pleasures of ambiguity.”

Shirreff’s work is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas. A publication is planned in collaboration with Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University, and the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver.

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