These women in my family

Exhibition at Unit 17 (Vancouver, Canada), 2017


These women in my family (2017)


These women in my family was presented at Unit 17, February 25 -March 30, 2017.

Exhibition text:
These women in my family would seem to have been pragmatic and in their deepest instincts clinically radical, given to breaking clean with everyone and everything they knew. (...) They tended to accommodate any means in pursuit of an uncertain end. They tended to avoid dwelling on just what that end might imply. When they could not think what else to do they moved another thousand miles, set out another garden: beans and squash and sweet peas from seeds carried from the last place. The past could be jettisoned, children buried and parents left behind, but seeds got carried. They were women, these women in my family, without much time for second thoughts, without inclination toward equivocation, and later, when there was time or inclination, there developed a tendency, which I came to see as endemic, toward slight and major derangements, apparently eccentric pronouncements, opaque bewilderment and moves to places not quite on schedule.

Joan Didion, "Where I Was From" in We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: The Collected Nonfiction (Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 2006), 955-956.

List of works:
Garden Variety
Fabric remnant on quilted and stretched muslin, dressmaker pin
72 x 56 x 1 3/4 inches (183 x 142 x 4 centimetres)

Commonwealth (pants)
Hand-dyed discount clothing between stretched muslin
56 x 42 x 1 3/4 inches (142 x 107 x 4 centimetres)

Fabric remnant, thread, poly-pellets
20 x 26 x 3 inches (51 x 66 x 7 centimetres)

Commonwealth (v-neck, mock neck)
Hand-dyed discount clothing between stretched muslin
32 x 32 x 3/4 inches (81 x 81 x 2 centimetres)

Seed Work
Fabric remnant on quilted and stretched muslin
56 x 72 x 1 3/4 inches (142 x 183 x 4 centimetres)

Lightness of heart and firmness of foot
Yo-yo quilt: hand-dyed muslin thread
43 x 80 inches (109 x 203 centimetres)
Support: cotton gauze, cotton canvas, thread and inflatable dunnage bag
48 x 84 inches (122 x 213 centimetres) x variable depth

Softlines (landscape)*
79 pairs of hand-dyed men’s, women’s and children’s dollar store socks, 1 vacuum seal storage bag
Size varies; to be packed and resealed as required
*second iteration

Works for this exhibition were developed during a 2016 residency at MASS MoCA made possible through a Canada Council for the Arts International Residencies Grant. The exhibition was completed with Project Assistance from the British Columbia Arts Council.

Images by Pongsakorn Yananissorn

Mousse Magazine. “Jessica Bell at Unit 17, Vancouver.” Mousse Magazine (online).
Durey, Lucien. “Art in 2017: A View from Vancouver.” Canadian Art (online).