AMERICAN CRAFT MAGAZINE ‘HIDE: SKIN AS MATERIAL AND METAPHOR’,
Nadia Myre (Anishinaabe), an artist living in Montreal, does not use organic materials to comment on skin. Her preoccupation is scars, and more than half of her part of the exhibit is devoted to The Scar Project, a communal work. Since 2005, Myre has held workshops in which she provides participants with 10-inch-square canvases and invites them to render their own scars-bodily or mental-by cutting and "suturing" the raw cloth. The 240 canvases (out of some 500 in the project) are arranged on both sides of a large gallery. Although much of the work seemed primitive as sewing, the cumulative effect is powerful and visually harmonious because of the nearly monochromatic effect-beige, white and light brown threads against the off-white canvas. What might have been presented as bloody wounds or disfiguring stitches are abstracted, even aestheticized, by the subtle colors. Another work, Landscape of Sorrow, also of canvas and cotton thread but done by Myre alone, is a grouping of six horizontal canvases, each depicting a long scar through a slit in the canvas "healed" by irregular stitching.
The theme continues in Scarscapes, several small rectangles made from glass beads and cotton thread, each with the central image of a black scar against a white background. On the wall nearby are greatly enlarged photographic images of details of the beaded works. Such pieces indicate Myre's pride in her Native heritage and its beading tradition. Such pride is conveyed in a more visceral way in Inkanatatation, a short digital video documenting the artist having her arm tattooed in a design of three red feathers. It is meant to suggest an alteration in the Canadian flag-the replacement of the maple leaf with feathers-as a way of honoring the country's aboriginal peoples. With its mingling of red ink and blood, this film returns the "ouch" factor to what has been presented at a remove in Myre's scar installations, and reminds the viewer that skin, real skin, is the subject of this exhibition.