|A View to a Room
Sarah Munro & Josi Smit
September 8 – October 6, 2018
Images courtesy of Toni Hafkenscheid
How many private intimacies do we risk losing when we rearrange the furniture? Our home décor, whether deliberate or incidental, is part of a delicate choreography that furnishes us with more than just a place to rest. We seek stability from our interiors, assuring ourselves that while the furniture may be borrowed from a common inventory of styles, their particular arrangement belongs to us alone.
The works included in A View to a Room are Munro and Smit’s proofs that even the idiosyncratic patterns of decoration we think are ours are spun and packaged for us as fantasies of uniqueness. Framed works by Munro—part painting, part collage—line the gallery walls, each incorporating black-and-white photographs from inside René Magritte’s former apartments, cut out into mundane domestic tableaux: a fern nestling by a balustrade; a bar stool triangulating between a planter and tea pot; a candlestick tapering past the edges of a throw blanket. While the rooms in the photographs have been cleared out by means of Munro’s subtractive process, the cutouts hint at what was formerly there: collections of décor so typical that any aura conferred by the photographs’ art historical import fades into irrelevance.
Smit’s sculptures also play on our assumptions of what’s missing from view. Their steely frames are draped in digitally printed images picturing rooms where those same frames stand in for absent furnishings. Drawing on the genre of real estate advertisements, the sculptures perform as placeholders for our own belongings, arousing the troubling reality that our rooms and spaces are hardly ever ours to shape anew. The myth of our own agency to dwell outside convention is, like a beloved armchair lugged from place to place, a thing we prefer to sink into.
– Erin Freedman
Sarah Munro is a Canadian born visual artist currently based in Belgium. Working in collage, mixed media and sculpture, Munro’s practice is inspired by interior design methodologies and taste culture. Munro received an MFA from the University of Western Ontario (2017) and a BFA from OCAD University (2014). Recent exhibitions include The Longest Way Round is the Shortest Way Home at Satellite Project, London ON (2017), Cc: at DNA Artspace, London ON (2016) and Inherited Vessels at Huntclub, Toronto (2016).
Josi Smit is a Toronto-based artist whose practice includes sculpture, installation, photography, and text. Her work considers the intimacies that form in our relationships with objects and spaces, and how quiet agencies can emerge from tenderness and fantasy. Recent exhibitions and residencies include The Roundtable Residency, Toronto (2018), Pick These Up and Turn Them Around at Beaver Hall, Toronto (2018), Fresh Paint/New Construction at Art Mûr, Montreal (2018), and Soul: Thrifted at OCAD Ada Slaight Gallery, Toronto (2017). Smit recently graduated from OCADU with a BFA and was the recipient of the OCAD Sculpture/Installation Program Medal for her graduating class. She is also the 2018 recipient of the BMO 1st Art Ontario Award that will culminate in a group exhibition at The Art Museum later this fall.