Gareth Bate

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Memento mori



World of Threads Festival
Common Thread International Exhibition

Curator: Gareth Bate, Toronto.

Nov. 2 – 18, 2012
The Gallery at Sheridan Institute, 1430 Trafalgar Rd, Oakville
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World of Threads Festival


The Memento mori exhibition at the Gallery at Sheridan Institute dealt with themes of death, mortality and grief, and the quest for immortality. It is a major festival exhibition of the 2012 World of Threads Festival.

The show developed out of a call for submissions called "Fibre Inspired". The call was based on a trend Festival Curator Gareth Bate had observed in contemporary art towards creating work using the techniques and aesthetic of fibre, but using non-fibre materials. He was struck by how radically different these submissions were. They were dark both physically and thematically.

The central question became why are these artists choosing to use fibre construction techniques, but replacing the fragility, impermanence and tactility of fibre materials with hard, 'permanent', and difficult to manipulate materials such as stone, bronze, metal, wood, bark, ceramic, plastic, wire, solid paint and wax?

A Memento mori is a reminder of the inevitability of death. Historically it has been a popular genre in art. The exhibition created an underworld environment. Mummification was a central theme. This process attempts to preserve and make immortal the ephemeral body. Many of the artists in the show are consciously dealing with the idea of memento mori or vanitas. Others have been included within this context to draw attention to the idea of attempting to make perishable fibre materials and techniques permanent by transforming them. Some work relates directly to historic symbols of death or immortality. Finally, no underworld would be complete without an escape.

The exhibition was set up in opposition to the exhibition De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things) at Joshua Creek Heritage Art Centre. That exhibition was filled with life, colour and energy. It focused on plants, animals and nature.




Common Thread International Exhibitions

Theses are the flagship shows of the World of Threads Festival. Hundreds of artists from around the world submitted bodies of work, installations or individual pieces to the Festival. Multiple curators from various Oakville and Toronto galleries created exciting exhibitions based on their own unique interests. We bring international contemporary fibre art to Oakville and the Toronto area as well as highlight the strength of our local artists.