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Stephanie Vegh
Erika DeFreitas at Centre3 in Hamilton
March 19, 2013

Deaths/Memorials/Births, the title of Erika DeFreitas' exhibition at Centre3 for Print and Media Arts, is plucked directly from the pages of The Toronto Star duplicated as prints that cover the gallery walls. Though they dominate their space as densely as wallpaper, the overwhelming emptiness of the column space cut away from the newspaper creates an impression of lightness that both defies and embraces its fatal subject matter.



Erika DeFreitas

Despite the title of both show and pages, there are no Birth columns preserved in DeFreitas' installation. The headings shown here are reserved for the dead, with new life drawn out instead by the quiet poetry she gleans from the original words of the notices themselves. Invisible at the first casual glance, the tiny burrs of words and phrases reveal themselves clinging by fragile millimetres to the edges of their hollowed columns like the survivors represented by such distantly threaded passages as through her consistent/watch over them/All creatures/offered their/thoughts of/memories/you left behind: the sum of all words remaining from the artist's editing of a full two pages of deaths and memorial.

From these delicately articulated absences to the clippings displayed in a vitrine – portraits of the dead darkened by beeswax and stacked in chillingly alphabetized heaps – Deaths/Memorials/Births strikes an empathetic chord. Though conceptual in nature, its creation is rooted in the painfully common ritual of cutting out notices when a loved one's passes. In her removal of all the dead, DeFreitas infuses each loss equally with that same private significance.


Centre3 for Print and Media Art: http://www.centre3.com/
Erika DeFreitas: Deaths/Memorials/Births continues until April 13.


Stephanie Vegh is a Hamilton-based visual artist and writer whose criticism has appeared in Scotland's Map Magazine, Canadian Art, C Magazine, and Hamilton Arts & Letters, in addition to her own blog. Her drawings and installations have shown most recently at the upArt Contemporary Art Fair and Nathaniel Hughson Gallery in Hamilton. She is the Executive Director of the Hamilton Arts Council and a member of the Curatorial Committee for Hamilton's annual Supercrawl. She is also Akimblog's Hamilton correspondent and can be followed @Stephanie_Vegh on Twitter.

 

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