Carol Sawyer, Remnants: Pale Pink Silk, Colour c-print, 24” x 24”, 2001

Carol Sawyer, Remnants: Pale Pink Silk, Colour c-print, 24” x 24”, 2001


Mary Kavanagh, Carol Sawyer

A Space Main Gallery

September 9 – October 15, 2005

Opening September 9, 2005, 7:00 pm–9:00 pm

Curated by: Corinna Ghaznavi

Mary Kavanagh and Carol Sawyer both examine aspects of memory and its construction and reconstruction in ReCollect. This multi-media exhibition, which was initially presented at Galerie La Centrale (Montreal) in 2004, features a selection of previous as well as new and different work that similarly tread upon the concept of reality, or truth, in their use of archival strategies that involve the photographic image, the collection and the souvenir.

The gathering of objects, their display and the use of museological practices have become accepted methodologies in contemporary art. Yet the very nature of memory and archival practices is ambiguous: archiving is selective, memory is malleable, and both are subjective. By mimicking archival and historical framing and systems of reference, the artists in ReCollect highlight what is remembered and what is erased in these systems.

In Shadow Archive, Kavanagh meticulously collected, bagged and labeled debris from a house embedded with memory and filled with residues of other’s lives. In the installation, Seeking Georgia, she archives and displays samples of earth taken on a pilgrimage to New Mexico, identifying sites which she matched to renowned artist Georgia O’Keefe’s landscape paintings. Sawyer focuses on the camera’s (in)ability to capture truths with her photographic series, Remnants, images of textile remnants that appear to be “actual” fabric, and her video Mylar Card which features the artist’s own continuously morphing image. Similarly, Flux, presents spaces in flux, documenting the interior of houses under renovation. The search for truth, or alternative truths, is used as a process to lay bare the mechanisms of historical and social contrstructions used to build up theories. What emerges in the juxtaposition of these artists are issues of social encoding and identity which reveal the embedded subjectivity in both mythology and power structures.

Mary Kavanagh, Seeking Georgia, installation (earth details), 2005

Mary Kavanagh, Seeking Georgia, installation (earth details), 2005


Mary Kavanagh’s art practice focuses on narrative, memory and the performativity inherent in process. She completed a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Guelph, an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan, and an MA in Art History from the University of Western Ontario. Since 1995, she has exhibited widely in both solo and group exhibitions across Canada, and recently participated in an artist residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute, New Mexico. Kavanagh lives and works in Lethbridge, Alberta where she teaches in the Art Department at the University of Lethbridge.

Carol Sawyer graduated from the Emily Carr College of Art and Design with Honours in Photography and holds an Interdisciplinary MFA from the School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. Since 1990 she has exhibited in both solo and group shows across Canada and in the US, and since 1996 has created or co-created many musical and cross-disciplinary performances. She lives and works in Vancouver, where she sings with her jazz improvisation band, ion Zod. Sawyer would like to thank the British Columbia Arts Council for its support.

Corinna Ghaznavi is an independent curator and freelance critic based in Durham, Ontario whose practice investigates the intersections of science, nature and culture.