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untitled fragment #1, 2017
Michelle MacKinnon
Powdered Graphite on Paper
44" x 30"

Michelle MacKinnon: A Rendering of the Once Familiar

Opening Reception: Thursday Sept 20th, 6-9pm
September 20 - November 3, 2018

A Rendering of the Once Familiar explores the (un)familiarities of home and what happens when its sentiment becomes disconnected, dislocated and ambiguous. Canadian artist Michelle MacKinnon navigates the threshold of when commonplace becomes anomalous in her ongoing transient displacement; not being without a home, but rather the feeling when a traditional idea of home is suddenly dismantled.

Through unfinished knits and fragmented body parts, MacKinnon reflects on how one can be comforted by the notion of home when its conventional state becomes physically no longer present, how it can endure and evolve within people and objects, and what its existence beyond spatial and temporal boundaries may be. Within the exhibition, four distinct bodies of work emerge:

there/there is an ongoing documentation of MacKinnon’s time spent in different places and spaces since abruptly leaving her family home. Inspired by the mindfulness and symbolic remnants of knitting, she records and reflects on each day within a designated 7x7 stitch pattern, mapping and documenting place and time. Knit as drawings are disconnected from their more utilitarian intent—they can no longer serve the purposes associated with clothing and warmth, but rather, in their drawn state, act as a record and symbol of time and place. Through drawing these systematically structured knits, MacKinnon attempts to calm the desire for permanence and observe the different presence/patterns that exist in such transience.

untitled fragments explores MacKinnon’s sentiments of home through her recollection of the people who occupy it both currently and previously. Each intimately preserved fragment is a small yet distinct part of someone close to MacKinnon that remains fondly in her memory. The drawings exist between the real and the remembered and, although they appear disjointed and eerie, can be comforting in their honest sincerity.

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not-quite-perfect knit XXI, 2018
Michelle MacKinnon
Pencil on Paper
11" x 9"

not quite perfect is an ongoing series of drawings that stem from MacKinnon’s time in Newfoundland. During that time, she purchased and was given many handmade knit items: sweaters, socks, hats, mittens, scarves, etc. These pieces, with their handmade imperfections, have a heart-warming sense of charm within them. The subsequent drawings, both fragmented knits and body parts, were done in attempt to spend intimate time connecting with the pieces and recreating herself within them.

entangled, though clustered and knotted, is a meditative act of repetition, unraveling, tracing and slowing down. The strands are first drawn as an outline, like a maze in reverse, and then filled in with repetitive marks. Drawn while reflecting upon a knotted stomach, they are an attempt to be present and calm during times of uncertainty and restlessness.

Together, these powdered graphite and pencil drawings construct an indulgent moment of quietness and reflection where the absence of words presents the opportunity to simply look. In their fragmented state that exists between the real and remembered, they are intimately preserved to create a mapping of sorts – a rendering of the once familiar. They drift between the deconstruction and adoration of things and people in an attempt to (re)familiarize the artist into a new understanding of what was, or still could be, home.

A Rendering of the Once Familiar is Michelle MacKinnon's second solo exhibition with Alison Milne Gallery, and is on view until November 3rd.


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Alison Milne Gallery
134 Osler St, Toronto, ON, M6N 2Y8
RSVP to gallery@alisonmilne.com
416-203-6266

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