21 April to 28 May 2011
Liz Magor’s sculptural work has long explored the ontology of familiar objects: their physical presences, their psychologies, and how they might convey ideas of class and status. In previous work, she used mold-making and casting to level the disparity between these categories, a fabrication strategy that rendered disparate objects equal and in turn heightened our awareness of the real and the simulated. In her recent body of work, her cast replicas of coats, trays and cutlery—what she has named “serviceable objects”—were receptacles for base material—such as candies or cigarettes—and became, in Magor’s words, “concatenations of dependencies”, a reference not only to the accretions of discarded goods and vices that appeal to our common impulses, but also to the cast physical supports that are subsumed into the whole.
Now, Magor moves away from cast replicas of trays and cutlery, and repurposes another type of “serviceable object”: old, woolen blankets. Each blanket displays a label as an indication of their provenance and of their size. The curious vocabulary of size— twin, queen, and king—lifts these ordinary objects up with a surplus of rhetorical credentials alluding to luxury, though in Magor’s view, these objects exist on par with her previous serviceable objects. Some of these blankets are in poor condition and others exhibit evidence of previous repairs. Following this, Magor has mended or altered these individual blankets in various ways—holes are darned, sections are dyed, edges are ringed with cast material—before grafting them together into a larger size suitable for a king. “If that happens,” Magor writes, “they’ve proven something, including their willingness and endurance which was previously disregarded.” All of these modifications, made in the spirit of rejuvenation, shift the blankets from the domestic realm to that of display. Of these works, Magor has written, “I think of them as paintings when they are open and drawings when they are folded.” At the same time they are still blankets, fresh from the drycleaners, awaiting another life.