Home arrow Volume 10 Issue 1, Summer 2014 arrow Susan Taber Avila A Natural Phenomenon by Joe Lewis
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Susan Taber Avila A Natural Phenomenon,

August 23 to October 6, 2013,

Art-image et espace Odyssée,Maison de la culture,

855, Blvd De la Gappe, Gatineau, Quebec


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 Susan Taber Avila with "Butterfly Garden" rescued thread, free motion embroidery, installed at Art-image et espace Odyssée,  August 2013, photo: Joe Lewis

There are currently three international textile festivals in Canada: Biennale international du lin de Portneuf, Triennale du Internationale des Arts Textiles Outaouais, and World of Threads. To attend any of them takes time, travel and accommodation since the three are geographically spread and located in places that prohibits walking in street traffic. This should not be a deterrent, but it requires intention and advanced planning. Having just attended the opening 10 days of the second edition of the Outaouais festival which happens in the region north of Ottawa (Canada’s capital city) on both sides of the Ottawa River and therefore in Ontario and Quebec I can speak of the need for advance planning and a car (and driver in my case). It was well worth the time. This event is built out from the Moonrain Tapestry Centre in Val-des-Monts, Quebec where for two weeks prior to the official opening twenty four makers from across Canada, the US and Europe had been working on outdoor installations. Several of these people also had solo or two person’s exhibitions in the larger line up of exhibition in municipal galleries through out the region along with other invited makers and one international touring exhibition.

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detail of "Garden Wall" laser cut textiles, thread, free motion embroidery

Susan Taber Avila was one of the makers at Moon rain who had a solo exhibition: A Natural Phenomenon at  Art-image et espace Odyssée, Maison de la culture, 855, Blvd De la Gappe, Gatineau, Quebec. This sampling of her work with laser cut fabrics, thread and digital printing. With her approach to these materials she makes very different types of works, one I would call multi layered drapery in which panels of "pieced " laser cut textiles which are a few shades of green in the shape of leaves which are more caught in a web of machine stitches which intersect and join these pieces of cloth. There are three layers which hang suspended over a background of digitally printed cloth which is an image of a garden wall over grown with ivy. The top layer is embroidered with large text in pink thread which stands out legibly and can be read at a distance. This piece originally created to touch the floor is hung high up on the wall to be seen from a mezzanine level balcony which is the lobby of the Masion de la culture which is the location of this exhibition.

"Out of The Woods" which consist of another digital image of a clearing in the woods in front of which a series of legs ending in shoes are walking « Out of the woods » the legs are of a similar leaves caught in a web of thread here is were the work becomes clever or possibly complicated. If you look at the back ground you will see these pairs of legs with their leaf covered shoes standing about in the photographed forest. The shoes whose uppers are made of the same photographed forest which is full of legs wearing shoes walking out of the forest. As repeat patterns are a textile tradition and nature is full of recognizable pasterns and the phrase “You can't see the forest for the trees” jumps easily to mind this piece really speaks of deforestation and does have a direct link to the outdoor installation at Moonrain Centre that Susan and Canadian Karina Bergmans created in “Site 10” 

out in the woods

Path into Site10 photo by Joe lewis

                   “Framing the Future: Working with the theme of matrix as both a rectangular array of elements and an environment in which something develops, our project creates and transgresses a construction site. Textile frames draw attention to the plight of urban sprawl and comment on the need for vigilance towards preserving the natural environment.”

Exhibition Signage

This piece, while appearing negligible in comparison to the other installations, is in fact much more sinister in its implications. Simple grids marking future construction site speak directly to the wholesale destruction of nature in preferment to commerce. With staked out paths leading to the various mock construction sites marked by  laid out grids text printed on scraps of cloth hanging on branches of surrounding shrubbery suggest references with which you can interpret the piece. In some ways these are almost pointless since there really is no other way to understand this work other then the sad reality it presents in this “fictional” supposition.

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Opening day of " Matrices" with makers Susan and Canadian Karina Bergmans, with Dominque Laurent the Executive Director of Galerie Montcalmr and Thoma Ewen one of the festival organizer and director of Moon Rain Centre for Textile Arts in the Outaouais at Val Des Monts, Quebec. photo: Joe Lewis


Susan Taber Avila http://www.suta.com/

Art-image et espace Odyssée, http://www.gatineau.ca/artimage/

Triennale du Internationale des Arts Textiles Outaouais, http://www.moonrain.ca/


You can see more photographs from the opening day of " Matrices" at the  Moon Rain Centre for Textile Arts in the Outaouais at Val Des Monts, Quebec.on facebook, click here


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