>>> Shapely fabrics: Lyn Carter earns her stripes

LYN CARTER at the Textile Museum of.

LYN CARTER at the Textile Museum of Canada (55 Centre), to March 20, 2016. $15, srs $10, stu $6, pwyc Wednesdays 5-8 pm. 416-599-5321. Rating: NNNN

An Ontario artist who’s garnered international acclaim without having much of a presence in Toronto galleries, Lyn Carter at last brings her textile-based sculptural work to town courtesy of the Textile Museum’s contemporary artists program. Carter starts with armatures inspired by decorative arts and architectural forms and covers them in smooth, meticulously sewn skins of cloth.

Her current show, 11th Line (named for her rural address), takes as its jumping-off point the basic textile pattern of stripes, juxtaposing her black-and-white sculptures with more colourful textiles from the museum’s collection. 

Carter plays with different concepts of home, distilling rural geometry for the white gallery space. Her floor pieces can evoke silos, barns and other rural buildings, plowed fields or the kind of tents erected for weddings and fairs. Some sculptures riff on perspective or shadows. 

She prints their cloth coverings with stripes of various textures: some crisp and hard-edged, others hazy with bleeding borders or filled with watery, inky swirls. Tower-like structures include one called Marker, with a slightly too long fabric covering that puckers out at the bottom like the base of a classical column.

Elegant drawings show Carter working out her concepts in charcoal and ink, and Refrain, a video collaboration with Iceland’s Sigrun Hardardóttir, simply but effectively conjures a waterfall with a downward-flowing arrangement of foggy textured bands and vertical stripes.

Carter’s known for her wonderful hanging sculptures, whose fanciful, lantern-like forms can bring to mind ornate urns or whirling tops. The two floor-to-ceiling examples here, Quick Turn 1 and 2, resemble towers of spinning plates. Their striped fabric covering is precisely sewn with darts to adapt it to the circular form, the lines converging to form triangles that echo the peaked roofs of the architectural works. 

An investigation of the most ordinary of patterns becomes a graceful meditation on dichotomies – dark versus light, soft versus hard, technology versus nature, city versus country, buildings versus surrounding landscape – in Carter’s hands.


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