Carleton University Art Gallery CUAG

Nadia Myre: Symbology

Curated by Sandra Dyck

14 February – 24 April 2011

Symbology presents recent beaded and photographic works by Algonquin artist Nadia Myre – the Desire Schematics and Scarscapes series of 2008-10 – that demonstrate her longstanding fascination with the communicative potential of abstract visual symbols. The Desire Schematics depict linear technical (piping and plumbing) diagrams in coloured beads on white backgrounds, and have saucy titles like Lubricator and Union Screwed. The Scarscapes picture bodily scars rendered in a sombre palette of grey, black, and white beads, descriptively titled Cross or Circle according to their simplified forms. The beaded works are also presented as pristine large-scale photographic images, framed in white and depicting mostly white beads arrayed in uniform grids. With their monumental feel and machined aesthetic, the photographs further abstract and distill the symbols that are the objects of Myre’s study.

The Desire Schematics and Scarscapes exemplify Myre’s persistent interest in systems of communication, especially in the coded forms employed in the realm of the human body, with its scars, frailties, and unruly desires. Such languages as Braille, ground to air signals and Morse code have all made appearances in her earlier work, but Myre’s use of such systems is never merely aesthetic. “There’s no such thing as decoration,” she has said, “everything means something.” Whether presented in analogue (beaded) or digital (photographic) form, the Desire Schematics and Scarscapes lead us, humorously and poignantly, to consider the real-world objects, events and histories – whether personal or political, historical or contemporary – that inspired them.

A catalogue, published in collaboration with Galerie Art Mûr and Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides and featuring essays by Sandra Dyck, Colette Tougas and Amanda Jane Graham, will be launched in March 2011.

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