I was excited when Laurie first told me the themes she had in mind for our summer group show, which was scheduled to open June 26th. Last year Laurie’s sister Hanna had similarly organized a group exhibition at the gallery and it was such a generative way of extending the gallery’s community that I was looking forward to seeing it repeated. But as things began to close at home, and with the knowledge that a number of the artists Laurie was hoping to include were either in New York or oversees, it wasn’t long into lockdown before we realized we would need to postpone.
It was difficult to know when to invite audiences back to the gallery and what sort of exhibition might best suit the occasion. Beyond only waiting for the okay from health authorities, our programming was now wholly uncertain and so whatever we chose would necessarily veer toward the unplanned, the contingent, the as yet unformed. In May it began to feel that reopening this summer was a possibility and Laurie suggested installing a single work that she had recently completed while in residence at the Banff Centre earlier this year. Something about this felt like it was striking the right tone; that a single work offered an invitation to return without demanding attendance in the way that a planned and laboured exhibition might.
The work is comprised of 35 unique photograms, made using bags that once carried firewood and onions, which Laurie actively collects. These bags are tools meant for the holding of other tools. These are devices that may also devise. They are sacs, they are skins, they are full of holes, porous and permeable. The contents they carry are staples that may generate growth or aid destruction, holding potential to both form and ruin.
What do you carry? What do you care for? What do you hope to build and burn?