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MSVU Collection

¤ Gary Markle

Date of Work
¤ c. 1998

Accession Year
¤ 2007

Accession Number
¤ 2007.18

¤ On display

¤ Textile

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Gary Markle: Conical Fields

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Gary Markle
(b. 1963, Bella Bella, BC; lives in Dartmouth, NS)

Conical Fields 1998-2000
sewn velvet with foam chip filling
71 x 23 x 356 cm
Gift of the artist, 2007
Mount Saint Vincent University Collection

Shag-Rag Rug was completed as a part of Markle’s MFA thesis work, incorporating synthetic carpet yarn from a defunct Ontario mill and clothing donated by fellow students. To produce the work, he built a loom from salvaged hockey sticks and other discarded materials. In emulation of Navajo weaving, the warp traverses the shorter dimension of the piece. The history of the materials used, including the smells of sometimes unwashed donations, helped to embed Markle’s social connections in the finished piece. The Rug’s tactility is enhanced when it is worn over the shoulders and “performed.”

Conical Fields was partly inspired by the work of Naoko Furue, which Markle included in his
curatorial project Meta Textiles (MSVU Art Gallery, 1996). The artists in this exhibition engaged the notion of "second skin" from disparate perspectives, though a spare, minimal sensibility. Markle was also inspired by Contingent (MSVU Art Gallery, 1995), which placed the work of two contemporary Canadians, Elspeth Pratt and Martha Townsend, in the context of post-minimal sculpture by Eva Hesse.

Conical Fields’ vibrant colour, repeated cones and irresistible tactility offer an hommage to the 1960s works of Yayoi Kusama, especially her stuffed-penis upholstered furniture. Though more gridded in its placement, the childlike mountain range the cones evoke is similarly humorous and at the same time menacing.

Gary Markle holds a BFA in Fashion Design from the Parsons School of Design, New York (1988) and an MFA in Textiles from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (1995). In 1996 he worked as Curatorial Assistant at MSVU Art Gallery. He now works as an Assistant Professor in the Textiles/Fashion Department at NSCAD where he has held various teaching contracts since 1997.

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