Join us for a Thursday Curatorial Tour of this exhibition.
Upheaval is like an earthquake. Whether from external events or personal growth, it can shake inner worlds, deconstruct long-held patterns, and free ideas from tight grips. In its aftermath, formerly rigid orders are scattered and frayed, appearing more fluid than before; within this creative threshold, the pieces left behind beg for new orientations and arrangements. A loving embrace of queerness and being in flux, the exhibition Loose Parts takes pleasure in the beauty, openness, and potential of in-between spaces and holding things lightly. Artists sophia bartholomew, Akash Inbakumar, and Justin Mezzapelli do this with intention, creating laborious works that unfasten and reorder social structures and conceptions of self through a queer lens.
In an early educational context, the theory of loose parts is a learning strategy that encourages the development of creative problem-solving skills through tactile play. Adopted as the title of this exhibition, the spirit of loose parts is carried into a collection of artworks that engage with repetitive acts of assembly. In this case, the artists work with everyday objects such as flower petals, pine needles, bread tags, and paper. Gathering and sorting, covering and weaving, their provisional installations propose a way of relating with ourselves and others that is imbued with curiosity and flexibility and is attentive to the inevitable condition of impermanence.
Seeking kinship and wisdom in ancient mythologies, art making processes, and personal experiences of becoming, the works in this exhibition yield to, rather than resist, uneven ground. Whether by choice or necessity, grief is a space where we lose and let go of things as they are. Loose Parts proposes that these familiar tools, held at arm’s length, might be the building blocks for creating the world one wants to live in. It is an invitation to come home to yourself and carve out space for your flourishing.
sophia bartholomew works outwards from the ruins and runes of their own cultural inheritance, adapting found and salvaged materials to create material-spiritual constructions. Their sculpture and installation work exists as part of an open and living system – borrowing its poetics from craft patterns and junk piles, stories and sagas, improvised adaptations and decisions of necessity. sophia is descended from Norwegian immigrants on Treaty 3 territory in rural Northwestern Ontario and English and Irish settlers in so-called Toronto. They recently completed their MFA studies at the University of Guelph.
Akash Inbakumar is an interdisciplinary artist, primarily working in textiles, based in Tkaronto. Their practice explores personal racialized queer narratives and material kinship, grounded in craft methodology. Inbakumar graduated from OCAD University in 2020 and has since completed a residency at Xpace Cultural Center and is currently starting their second year of the Harbourfront Center: Craft and Design residency. They have shown work at Patel Brown, Harbourfront Center, Xpace, and Artscape Gibraltar Point.
Justin Mezzapelli is an interdisciplinary artist interested in poetics, domesticity, multiplicity, and queerness. The intersections of these domains emerge in his practice while he draws on the mundane to organize meaning. His work manifests as found material and image-based examinations of subdued identity, often in transitory states. Employing ordinary objects or knowledge as semiotic tools, he delineates the appearance of selfhood parallel to distinctly unassuming worlds. Justin holds a BFA in Integrated Media from OCAD University. He is currently based in Whitby, Ontario.
Installation of Loose Parts at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 2022. Images by Toni Hafkenscheid.