Trace Nelson

Trace Nelson: Walls of Intrigue and Cabinets of Curiosity

January 24 to March 30, 2014

Opening Reception: Friday, January 24 at 8 p.m.
Talk/Tour: Sunday, January 26 at 1 p.m. with artist Trace Nelson

Monkey Business Workshop
Sunday, January 26 at 2 p.m. with Trace Nelson

Trace Nelson’s Walls of Intrigue and Cabinets of Curiosity presents an ambitious body of work that places monkey imagery at the centre of her installation. She has mobilized the nostalgic affection for handcrafted sock monkeys into a compelling study of DIY cultures, collecting, crafting, play theory and the tangled relationships between culture, nature, and technology. Nelson’s installation is densely layered with wall mounted and free-standing monkey sculptures in varying sizes, wall drawings, framed and unframed paintings, as well as furniture upholstered with reused sweaters punctuated by video peepholes. In 2008, the Victoria artist embarked on a research project to construct 100 sock monkeys. As Nelson’s research veered into new hypotheses and materials, the cuddly toy monkeys morphed and took on more complex qualities. This monkey business provides a delightful and mischievous antidote to the seriousness of everyday life and perennial concerns about elitism in the arts. There is also a reference to the exoticism of Victorian collecting methods and the economical impulse to repurpose work socks into toys.

Nelson works in a variety of media: watercolour, papier maché, sculpture, oil painting, video art, and interactive media. She has exhibited her work in Canada, the U.S. and Europe, and also worked as an art educator for the past 15 years, teaching at Concordia University, and most recently, teaching drawing and painting at the Vancouver Island School of Art in Victoria. She has an MFA and a BFA from Concordia University, Montreal.

Trace Nelson: Walls of Intrigue and Cabinets of Curiosity was curated by Helen Marzolf.