"A Bed to the Bones"
Pressing Issues (1997)
Teresa Marshall, a Vancouver artist of Mi'Kmaq and Scottish ancestry, brings the implications of aboriginal history into the contemporary sphere with a new installation. The installations mix both humour and seriousness in Marshall's political address of First Nations stereotypes.
She consolidates many of her interests over the past two years in this show. Marshall uses rawhide skins in drum-like constructions of elegant, sparse furniture and such everyday objects as ironing boards. A grid of 500 altered eyeglasses and a wall-mounted display of cement bones show an economy of materials evident in earlier work. The colours throughout are subdued and monochromatic, creating a pristine and meditative environment.
The quietude of her installations plays upon the typically solemn and systematic museum approaches to displaying First Nations artifacts. It is hideously disrupted, however, when the drums are struck. The inanimate objects take on an unexpected presence and sensibility, ejecting what was a passive history into a viable and resonating present.
© Mia Johnson