Suzanne Franks: Smother

June 27 to August 30, 2009

This new exhibition will be an installation of three-dimensional work by Calgary-based artist Suzanne Franks. Contained within the one-word title Smother is the word “mother,” the fact of which the artist is only too well aware. We might call to mind the familiar term “smother love,” which refers to the love of a mother for her child that is too protective for the child’s own independent development. This is the knife edge that Franks’ installation addresses: where precisely is the point when mother love becomes smother love? And how does a mother get it right?

The pieces in the exhibition address this dilemma through powerful visual metaphor. Both Life Boat and Life Preserver (each created in 2007) are large, soft, orange forms made up from a clustering of numerous inflated objects that read like cuddly babies in the case of Life Boat, and female arms, in Life Preserver. The babies are afloat, but adrift, while the helpless, many-armed Life Preserver is pinned at a distance on the gallery wall. Thus, the babies are hopelessly out of reach of the protective, but potentially smothering female hands.

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