Liz Magor, Hollow, (1998-99),
polymerized alpha gypsum, fabric and foam
New sculptures by Vancouver artist Liz Magor suggest the kinds of hide-outs in nature that might attract playing children. Hollow logs and tree trunks appear to form perfect shelters for games of hide-and-seek, or for quiet times where the small domestic scenes of children might be played out.
Instead, they are meant to evoke the refuges of the homeless, the misanthropic and the fugitive. In sharp contrast to visions of innocent childhood games, photographs of actual rudimentary shelters found in the woods and wilderness of British Columbia accompany these sculptures. Remnants of cabins built by homesteaders, hippies or hermits, once populated by society's drifters, are presented here in states of disrepair and abandonment.
In the centre of the gallery are the casts of actual hollow logs that might form such shelters for the homeless. They are made of a soft, pliable rubber, dyed a brownish color, that is dense enough to support their shape and weight. Inside one cast of a life-sized tree trunk laid on its side, Magor has arranged a sleeping bag and rough pillow. From their origins in privatized public spaces to the gallery setting, the sculptures ask serious questions about how our once-imaginary play became reality for so many of us.
© Mia Johnson