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Svea Ferguson Self-Exposures

Works in the exhibition

Division Gallery is proud to present Calgary-based artist Svea Ferguson’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.

Ferguson plies and molds her chosen material, industrial flooring, testing its ability to contain and be contained by new forms. The curvature of Ferguson’s sculptural work draws comparisons to contrappostos and figure serpentinate, idealized Renaissance postures of strength and resistance. Like those strained bodies, Ferguson’s sculptures are caught between moments of unraveling and materializing; wound tightly, we half expect them to resist their compacted pressure and twirl undone. At the same time, these sculptures’ shell-like forms recall the fluid drapery that cloak antiquated figures. By comparison, Ferguson here trades in excavated marble for a superficial layer of densified synthetic stone.

While her sculptures’ animism depends on their seeming gesticulation, it is also evidenced by the artist’s own gestures behind each of her form’s undulations. As such, our attention oscillates between spectral bodies and inorganic material, as well as the physical sites they both occupy. In particular, Ferguson’s industrial materials point to the domestic sphere. Normally found in suburban kitchens, the mass-produced flooring from which her sculptures are made is brought from underneath our very feet to eye-level, contorted into anthropomorphic shapes, and confronting us as subjects in their own right.

The exchange between physical bodies and material constraints also characterizes Ferguson’s new series of photographs. Printed onto mylar at human scale, these photographs act like x-ray scans for her sculptures and reveal the impossibility for Ferguson’s work to firmly occupy a position of either interiority or exteriority. Instead, their liminality proposes that we view them as a set of paradoxes: exoskeletons of specters once revealed and now absent.

Svea Ferguson is a recent graduate from the Alberta College of Art + Design. She was included in the group exhibition Surface and Stratagem at Division Gallery this summer. Her work has been exhibited at Barbara Edward Contemporary in Calgary (2014) and at Stride Gallery, Calgary (2015). A solo presentation of her work was mounted at the Esker Foundation project space in Calgary this year. Ferguson is the provincial recipient for Alberta of the BMO 1st Art! Competition, which culminated in an exhibition at the Justina M. Barnickle Gallery in Toronto in 2015.

For more information on the artist