Films for Garments

Feature Wall: Michell Forsyth, ‘Films for Garments’, 2020.

Michelle Forsyth, standing in front of her Feature Wall installation 'Films for Garments', 2020.

Feature Wall: Michell Forsyth, ‘Films for Garments’, 2020.

Feature Wall: Michell Forsyth, ‘Films for Garments’ (detail), 2020.

Feature Wall
Films for Garments
Michelle Forsyth
October 16, 2020 – November 14, 2020

An image list is available here.

Films for Garments features a suite of films, hand-painted on mylar, layered and tacked to the wall. These films are often used to create printed material, particularly screenprints.

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.

Michelle Forsyth holds an MFA from Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ); and a BFA from the University of Victoria (Victoria, BC). Her work has been exhibited internationally at venues including: Mulherin + Pollard, (New York, NY); Zaum Projects (Lisbon, Portugal); The BRIC Arts Media House (Brooklyn, NY); Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (Doha, Qatar); Pentimenti Gallery (Philadelphia, PA); Auxiliary Projects (Brooklyn, NY); The Hunterdon Museum of Art (Clinton, NJ); The Luminary Center for the Arts (St. Louis, MO); The Charleston Heights Arts Center (Las Vegas, NV); Deluge Contemporary Art (Victoria, BC); and Mercer Union (Toronto, ON). She has been the recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts (Ottawa, ON), Artist Trust (Seattle, WA). Her work in print has been supported by awards from the Larry Sommers Memorial Fellowship (Seattle Print Arts, WA) and the Nick Novak Fellowship (Open Studio, Toronto, ON). She has been a resident at the Frans Masereel Centrum (Kasterlee, Belgium), The Banff Centre (Banff AB), The Textile Centre (Blöndos, Iceland), and The University of Southern Maine (Gorham, ME). She currently holds a tenured position at OCAD University (Toronto, ON) and is represented by Corkin Gallery (Toronto, ON).