Imagined Objects exhibit ‘ignites curiosity’
The Art Gallery of Regina’s featured exhibit encourages playful imagination with reclaimed and lost materials
Though the exhibit takes up only one room at the Art Gallery of Regina, Imagined Objects by Jessica Morgun and Tamara Rusnak could easily take hours of your time to properly appreciate (so it’s a good thing you have until September 26 to go see it). The artists, who both hold Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina respectively, put this show together to ignite curiosity and speculation in its viewers.
Some of the main themes in Rusnak’s work are repurposing, altered perspectives, and exploring “what ifs” in the form of tools that don’t (at least, currently) exist. Some of these tools come in the form of sculptures made from clay, wire, ceramic, and papier-mache. Rusnak actually destroyed old drawings to use for the papier-mache pieces of the exhibit and plans on using that same repurposing process with many of the pieces on display currently. Other tools come as drawings in ink and graphite, as pictured, each with a subtle trend that shifts through collections.
Morgun took the theme of imagined objects a different route, and through their project Think of a Lost Thing, asked Regina residents to describe things they’d lost without mentioning what they were; what they were used for; or even what they looked like. Some examples of questions interviewees were asked include:
-Explain how it fits in your hand.
-Explain what it feels like when you run your hand over it.
-What would happen if you put it in your mouth?
After conducting these interviews and learning as much as she could, while staying within the bounds of the project, she took the verbal descriptions and made clay sculptures to match her imaginations evoked by the descriptions. Though their uses may be difficult to imagine, that is sort of the point. They’re interpretations of described sensations, and sensations are subjective – so it’s likely that this same project by any other artist would’ve produced 10 wildly different sculptures.
The aspect of Morgun’s display that draws the audience in is the excerpts from her interviews, printed on the wall by her sculptures. Each of the 10 quotes are no more than four sentences long so viewers aren’t overwhelmed with context, but again – that’s the point. Each of the sculptures is set on a coloured mat, and the colour of each mat is coordinated with the colour of the interview quotes on the wall. This gives the audience a hint as to which description may have inspired each object but leaves enough ambiguity that opinions on matches will differ from person to person.
While Rusnak’s pieces take on the debut side of objects created from imaginations, Morgun’s bring some closure by introducing new life to items that were grieved by those who lost them. They played with the theme of repurposing differently as well, yet both emphasized that perspective is everything when assessing something’s purpose. Or, as the self-guided tour pamphlet states: “In short, artists have the power to change the world by envisioning a better one.”