Michelle Forsyth - Statement
January 2021

My process-rich photographic artworks document a performative engagement with mimesis through the reproduction of pattern, and repetition. Over the past ten years, I have recorded the creative potential of my tremor in dialogue with the fine motor skills of my hand. At first glance, these artworks appear decorative, abstract, even baroque. The image elements however, are deeply informed by narratives embedded in my source materials and my approach to craft, through the handwork of textiles, sculptural objects, and painted surfaces, and through contextual notes. The patterns depicted are representations originating in the recesses of my clothes closet, from collections of ephemera, and accumulations of memorabilia. These prior artworks have featured garments fallen into obsolescence as my body and physical capacities have changed under the influence of Parkinson’s disease.

I inherited my approach to craft from the traditions of my mother, a Canadian immigrant from a working class Norwegian family. I combine northern traditions of weaving, knitting, and embroidery with skills involved with sewing, pattern making, and screen printing that I have acquired from workshops, how-to manuals, and YouTube videos. I am interested in handcrafts as they pertain to irregularity, inefficiency and as the manifestation of haptic knowledge. The physical rhythms of making are time-consuming, and progressive disease highlights the preciousness of time. As my capabilities decrease, each mark or stitch is cherished as a record of then.

I hold an MFA from Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ); and a BFA from the University of Victoria (Victoria, BC). My work has been exhibited internationally at venues including: Mulherin + Pollard, (New York, NY); Zaum Projects (Lisbon, Portugal); The BRIC Arts Media House (Brooklyn, NY); Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (Doha, Qatar); Pentimenti Gallery (Philadelphia, PA); Auxiliary Projects (Brooklyn, NY); The Hunterdon Museum of Art (Clinton, NJ); The Luminary Center for the Arts (St. Louis, MO); The Charleston Heights Arts Center (Las Vegas, NV); Deluge Contemporary Art (Victoria, BC); and Mercer Union (Toronto, ON). I have been the recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts (Ottawa, ON), Artist Trust (Seattle, WA). My work in print has been supported by awards from the Larry Sommers Memorial Fellowship (Seattle Print Arts, WA) and the Nick Novak Fellowship (Open Studio, Toronto, ON). I have been a resident at the Frans Masereel Centrum (Kasterlee, Belgium), The Banff Centre (Banff AB), The Textile Centre (Blöndos, Iceland), and The University of Southern Maine (Gorham, ME). I currently hold a tenured position at OCAD University (Toronto, ON) and am represented by Corkin Gallery (Toronto, ON)..