Shannon Bool: Modernism and Its Discontents
25 August–6 December 2020
Contemporary Feature, Davies Foundation and Samuel J. Zacks Galleries
Curated by Anne-Marie St-Jean Aubre, Curator of Contemporary Art, Musée d’art de Joliette with Sunny Kerr, Curator of Contemporary Art, Agnes Etherington Art Centre

Shannon Bool’s recent practice takes on many forms, including tapestries, silk paintings, collages, sculptures and photograms. All gravitate around a central theme: a critique of Modernism through unconventional material processes, combined with her own interpretation of psychoanalytical concepts. By examining the flip side of modernist currents, the artist reveals repressed aesthetic influences in both visual art and architecture.

The role of architecture in controlling both bodies and behaviour is at the core of Bool’s approach, which identifies objectifying strategies used in interior design, specifically in the arrangement of niches, alcoves and sightlines within domestic spaces. This is apparent in her tapestries investigating viewpoints in the architecture of Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, and her recent works of embroidered floor plans by Adolf Loos and Carlo Molino. In other tapestries and photograms, she complicates Le Cobusier’s Plan Obus, aimed at transforming Algiers into a modern imperial capital, by revealing its underlying phantasmal character. Using superimposition, she connects his architectural drawings with his erotic drawings and orientalist postcards widely circulated at the time, suggesting that one could have informed the other. Finally, her silk paintings confound our expectations by mixing ideas of softness and sensuality with the rigidity and flatness of the modernist grid reminiscent of architectural façades.

Shannon Bool, The Weather, 2018, jacquard tapestry, embroidery. Courtesy of Daniel Faria Gallery, Toronto, and Gallery Kadel Willborn, Düsseldorf

Shannon Bool, Villa Muller Sampler, 2019, silkscreen, cotton embroidery on hand dyed silk. Courtesy of Daniel Faria Gallery, Toronto, and Gallery Kadel Willborn, Düsseldorf

This exhibition is produced by the Musée d’art de Joliette in partnership with the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Iterations of this project initiated by the Musée d’art de Joliette have been presented by the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, and the Kunstverein Braunschweig in Braunschweig. We thank the Canada Council for the Arts for their support.

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