Halifax-based artist Eleanor King finds inspiration in the everyday - those deceptively mundane, overlooked, and understated aspects of contemporary life that one might adapt, revitalize, assemble or dismantle, and in the process, reveal as dignified and often extraordinary. Artists have long mined the everyday as a generous fount and King is quick to acknowledge the work of Dadaist radicals, Fluxus happenings, modernist sculpture, and contemporary multi-disciplinary and relational practices, as fundamental influences. Her work is often site-specific, responding to places or situations using provisional means and employing interdisciplinary strategies combining sculpture, sound, performance, and two-dimensional media. The approach is playful yet political, and attempts to resolve both artistic and social/civic concerns.
King’s work often functions as a capitalist critique investigating ideas of the lost, forgotten or obsolete. She playfully imagines an age of post-production, where we might keep calm and carry on, decorating in the face of disaster. Many of her installations are comprised of obsolete or discarded objects, largely determined by available supply as free or cheap cast-offs gleaned from our consumer society. Sculpturally, her work explores the tension between the artist's aim and the nature of materials, allowing the inherent physical properties of each item influence over the resulting organic architectural forms. Towering VHS tapes tilt to one side by virtue of their packaging (VHS Stack, 2009), and cup stacks built with no other support than gravity and tension (Cuppa Cups, 2007-2010). All examples here follow a simple rule: the sum of their parts must remain intact. As much in debt to minimalism as music theory, the use of repetitive sequences to make complex patterns within a small spectrum is a tactic frequently employed by King.
Human relationships to the natural world are also an important part of her consideration when making art. Recent site-specific installations Freshwater Brook and Taddle Creek used audio to highlight streams that once ran through two cities, now diverted underground with urban development. For the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Eleanor will take her inspiration from the space of the gallery itself and the surrounding area of Lethbridge. Working in situ, her exhibition will draw from the history of the place, be it the lingering ghosts of the former library, the coal mining industry or the impact of irrigation.
Eleanor King presents installations and performances nationally and internationally, most notably at Nuit Blanche (TO), Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Eastern Edge Gallery (NL) and Galleri F15 in Norway. She received a BFA from NSCAD in 2001, and participated in residencies at The Banff Centre, Atlantic Centre for the Arts (FL), New Adventures in Sound Art (TO), and the Centre for Art Tapes (NS). Her musical history includes bands The Got to Get Got, The Just Barelys and newly formed all-girl outfit Wet Denim. She is currently shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award, she teaches media arts at NSCAD University and is Director at Anna Leonowens Gallery in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
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