Worse For Wear

Exhibition Views - Telephone Gallery, Vancouver.
Nov, 2022 - Jan, 2023.

To be Worse for Wear is to be damaged by use or weathered over time. This applies to us as people as-much-as it does to our belongings. We replace worn out possessions online or in conveniently located shopping centres. Once inside, glass vitrines and window displays keep merchandise visible to customers yet safe from shoplifters and the touchy indecision of ‘just browsing’ types. At a jewellers, for example, these illuminated glass cases behave as prominent architectural features that define the character of the store. The line that separates precious from plain is drawn in plate glass and cold metal trim.

Amanda Crain-Freeland invents arduous material processes not in the service of small precious objects, but instead, to embellish the cumbersomely plain — often industrially made — furnishings of commercial exchange. Thus the roles are reversed. Plinths aren’t merely invisible supports for something of value, they themselves are the objects on display. The homemade Formica that dresses and protects them is incised with embroidery patterns to create an outmoded combination of overly decorated surfaces. These two tiled patterns interfere with one another like the moiré effect produced when you frame your television through your phone. A break in the illusion that reminds us that our ‘must-haves’ are the products of very effective mediation. 

How objects of desire become desirable is a well-kept secret. Perhaps the X-ingredient is the mystery. Knowing too much about where something comes from, how it is made and by whom can sour the escapism guaranteed by a shopping spree. The artworks in Worse for Wear contend with the invisible labour that drives consumerism forward. For Crain-Freeland, folding is a fundamental kind of work that grants two-dimensional materials the volume and rigidity to stand upright in space. It is an equally monotonous errand in domestic and retail environments. Flipping the object upside down or turning it inside out reveals unfinished edges or remnants of adhesive — the traces of someone’s labour. Folding is therefore a transformative kind of work that necessitates an inside and an outside. The polished outside conceals an inside scarred with the seams that hold it together.

 - Felix Rapp