Michelle Forsyth

Image of me visiting: Jónsi, Hrafntinna (Obsidian), 2021 at The AGO


My work is driven by a deep fascination with the complexities of time, and memory, as seen through the objects that surround me in my home, and through my own physical resilience with being an active participant in everyday life. I find washing the dishes or mending a sock as difficult as painting a backdrop for one of my photographs, and thus the act of making for me is on par with the upkeep and the decor of my home. During Covid I lost the ability to walk or stand for long periods of time and have had to rely on the use of a wheelchair for a portion of each day. This has resulted in a fear of leaving my home, which as has become challenging for me. Due to this, I have built my own universe within the walls of my apartment, and I am deeply grateful to those who help me coexist within a world that is not geared for my physical body. Although I embrace the technology that enables me to connect with others, my practice as an artist is informed by my struggle to relate to others. This aspect of my work is often hidden through the inclusion of personal notes, intentionally kept secret, embedded within the objects depicted in my photographs. Writing holds a sacred space in my practice and is the connective thread that enables me to express myself. Paradoxically, it is the visual aspects of my work that people often identify with. This is intentional on my part, for I surround myself with the intricate patterns and bright hues that dominate my work. Due to an intensity of colour that surrounds me in my home and in my work, I can hide my struggles and fears of existing in such a cruel world. Early-onset Parkinson's disease has given me a unique perspective to draw upon on these themes, leading me to build a practice that reflects my own experience in the world. Through an interdisciplinary practice that involves painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, and writing, I seek to create complex and thought-provoking autobiographical works that speak to human experience, with all of its dreams and reveries, as well as its nightmares and sorrows.


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: Corkin Gallery (Toronto, ON); 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).