Feature Wall

Michelle Forsyth

Films for Garments

DATE

October 16, 2020November 14, 2020

exhibitions

Exhibition viewings: Wednesday – Saturday, 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, by appointment: please email laura@openstudio.ca.


Films for Garments features a suite of films, hand-painted on mylar, layered and tacked to the wall.

For the past year Michelle Forsyth has been making a series of garments, printed at Open Studio, to wear in large-scale photographs. The resulting artworks celebrate her body’s ability to stage unusual poses and gestures within a field of pattern.

Ten years ago Forsyth was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and since this diagnosis, she has recorded the progressive impact of the disease on her body by exploring the creative potential of her tremor in dialogue with the fine motor skills of her hand. At first glance, these artworks appear decorative, abstract, even baroque. The image elements however, are deeply informed by narratives embedded in her source materials and her approach to craft, through the handwork of textiles, sculptural objects, and painted surfaces.

Forsyth inherited her approach to craft from the traditions of her mother, a Canadian immigrant from a working-class Norwegian family, and combines them with skills involved with sewing, pattern making, and screen printing that she acquired from workshops, how-to manuals, and YouTube videos.

Forsyth is interested in handcrafts as they pertain to irregularity, inefficiency, and as the manifestation of haptic knowledge. The physical rhythms of making are time-consuming, and progressive disease highlights the preciousness of time. As her capabilities decrease, each mark or stitch is cherished as a record of them.

This project is supported by a Nick Novak Fellowship at Open Studio and was produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.