Skin deep, or poetry for the blind

August 19 – September 25, 2004
Nadia Myre: Skin deep, or poetry for the blind

Over the last decade my work has dealt with issues of language, desire, loss and identity. What started as a practice of subversive acts: spray-painting double entendre, sexual innuendos and poetic come-ons across the city landscape, evolved to painting scars that stand in for words on canvases that have been slit then stitched. Between these two treatments of language, exist a myriad of others as text is stenciled, projected, painted, beaded over, translated, codified, and absented. What remains is the personal and collective memory of a language wound – the desire to scratch a painful scar – the wounded space between people.

In this work, love, want, hurt and loss – the complex exprience and narrative of desire within interpersonal relationship is expressed in various languages and visual signifiers. A broken line, sewn into the canvas and painted with glazes of oil colour and ash reveals Everything I know about love… Emerging from the blue night sky (or deep ocean) of ‘Till it Hurts are star-like pimple shapes sewn into the canvas to create Braille. Once decoded, the paintings’ text is raw with pain, the poetry un-poetic. In Coda Construction prose is interwoven with survival languages (ground to air signals, and Morse code) to create a multilingual narrative of distress. Each language is treated differently, the S-O-S signal in Morse code is etched in aluminum, the ground to air signals are scarred in the canvas and painted, and an English poem is handwritten and embossed on white paper. Together they create the following layered narrative: (help) you loved (unable to move) as a child (help) lost, in the thick of wood [do not understand] (help) [need assistance] haunted, (help) by a slew [need compass and map] of ghastly creatures (help). In each of these works surface language is explored and played with, adding to decode its message; a reflection of our ability to read situations and people in our daily lives.