September 4th- September 27, 2008
James Harris Gallery is pleased to present its second solo exhibition by Toronto artist Tania Kitchell. In the past decade, Kitchell has produced a diverse body of work that takes her immediate environment as subject, ranging from investigations of the body as it interacts with a harsh winter climate to sublime text-based recordings of the weather.
In Sunshine, Kitchell continues this reflective stance towards our relationship with nature. Uprooting the garden and moving it into interior spaces, she challenges the division of space between where things grow and where they do not. In Kitchen 1, the artist captures a small circle of robust yellow Celosia flowers that invades a floor littered with scraps of tile and other debris. In other works, an orderly row of plants sits in the middle of a deserted room or a line of grass thrives at the base of an exposed wall. Kitchell skillfully moves back and forth between making these gardens appear staged and “natural” and, in so doing, makes visible the breakdown of the interior.
The metaphorical possibilities of the garden are continued in a series of text-based wood panels that are deliberately provocative in their ambiguity. “Really Harry how does your garden grow.” “She thought tearing the flowers apart was as good as smelling them.” Kitchell’s exploration of the site of the garden-a part of nature that is molded by human hands, yet remains steeped in notions of purity and tranquility-and in larger natural phenomena is one that leads us to continually question our knowledge and perception of what surrounds us.
Kitchell’s work has been exhibited at national and international venues, including Mercer Union, Toronto, Canada; The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery Habourfront Centre, Toronto, Canada; Neue Museum Graz, Austria; and Musée du Québec, Canada; and Western Bridge, Seattle. The artist wishes to thank the Canada Council for the Arts for its support of this body of work.