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'Just to Please You,' by Stella McCaig and Theoren Johannessen at The Vault Gallery, Victoria, BC

Hard and soft, flesh and fur, polished and tarnished, vague and direct. Nestled within the binaries of being and serving, Just to Please You explores material objects and their potential to be other. The artists, Stella McCaig and Theoren Johannessen introduce their work to each other and to you, provoking dialogue between materials, walls, spectators, and in-betweens. Ambiguity is met with intention and objects take on their own narratives, crossing the boundaries of impersonal to personal, and back again. The artists create intersections of attraction but leave the objects to step into their own. 

They are relinquishing contact to make contact, asking the spectator to submit their own biases, allowing the object to fill the space that is left. Traces of the artists’ touch are reminiscent but unstable as objecthood personifies. Memories of their meanings are present but no longer recognizable, and states of relation slip between fumbling hands. Have you seen these objects before? You can let yourself remember, it’s okay. 

Searching for the leylines that transcend dichotomous distances, the artists locate a calculated wildness that intervenes in states of being. Binaries shift and fold in on themselves as object identities bend, twist, writhe, and settle. Consider latency and its relationship to the naked eye, what do objects reveal and ask you to reveal in return? Listen to the conversations conceived as walls talk to objects and objects talk to you. 

Where do the secular and the sacred meet? How is ritual embedded into materiality? Inside these questions, Just to Please You finds answers in adornment. Fine trimmings and playful garniture are used to re-present familiar elements. Consider how decoration is used for the body and how it translates into material culture. Embellishment reveals the quiescent personality of the object. Blurring the lines that separate what is and once was means finding solace in the eerie embrace of the adorned every day. 

Welcome. Get comfortable. Curl into its folds and listen to its echo. Feel its textures; skin, lace, steel, chain, foam, and fur. We’ll meet you in the middle. 

— Tori Windle 

24.11.22 — 27.11.22

The Vault Gallery

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