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withdrawing room

withdrawing room
David Grenier
May 19 – June 1, 2001
Installation, residency, performance


Artist Statement

Currently my artistic practice is concerned with a hybrid of traditional techniques (sewing, drawing) and notions (femininity, masculinity) within a modern context and contemporary practice (public gallery installation art) to give voice to issues of home and the homosexual.

The work plays with notions of space – literal three dimensional places, as well as the more ephemeral and liquid territories that relate to spaces within memory, narrative and time. Allegorically, the space of one text is mapped onto and into another: the corporeality of homosexual experience and desire is read through conventional notions of home. In this context, architecture as space that supports and frames notions of identity is shown to produce the stage upon which human subjectivity is enacted and performed. My focus is in the inherent complexities within spatial discourses and on how I seek out, appropriate and remake these spaces as habitable or queer.

withdrawing room, the exhibition currently installed at neutral ground, is somewhere situated in between what is known and familiar, blurring the possibility of an absolute inside and out, public and private. The work refers not only to the notion of a place or a room to draw in, or to withdraw from, but also a room that one is drawn into–the viewer is compelled to come close, closer still, near. Subverting the traditional dyad of pencil to paper, the drawings are rendered in needle and thread into wallpaper. At first glance they are withdrawn from sight, hidden within the floral ground of the papered wall. In time, the stitched drawings become intelligible, allowing what has been repressed to appear: fragmented bits of personal narrative, stills of a larger story, images that are momentarily recalled, slowly dissolve without trace. withdrawing room also becomes the context for two, one-week performances that examine the notion of camouflage – the perpetual state of a body being visible and invisible simultaneously. The performances border on the absurd and are based on labour-intensive, repetitious acts that underline and undermine the architectural and social spaces of the gallery.

The work is drawn from memory – my memories of being in-doors, shut-in, closeted and also being out-of doors, opened-up, out. The work is spatially sensitive, its characteristics completely reliant on the specificity of place which makes the space and the art possible. The work questions the genderedness and sexuality of spaces and gestures in order to call attention to the slippage or the play that is present within their very production. It is a renovation, a process of reordering space and of taking place.