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Jeanie Riddle
From March 3rd 2006 to April 8th 2006
Floating Floors... or Maybe Just a Pile of Love

Re-working the main space at Optica using simple forms, ready-mades, and non-desirable consumer goods and mishaps, Jeanie Riddle redefines a process of arrangement very much a part of hard modernism à la Judd, Hollingsworth, and Newman.

Typically her materials of choice are found at the hardware store. Here, the paint chip is used as a kind of paintbrush. And the application of faux wood grain panels, mat tack, and house paint — hopelessly failed from a practical point of view — is always considered and carefully put up or painted.

Thriving on the process of installing the materials, Jeanie Riddle cares for them, adding painted surface after painted surface, sometimes scratching into it, then protectively covering it in plastic, and constantly cleaning, constantly trying to fix its messiness.

This feminization disrupts the seamlessness of the environment, creating a purposeful dysfunction of the materials and of the space they inhabit. It leaves open the activity of inserting the individual into the drama of the everyday, the in-betweens of the project.

"Floating floors… or maybe just a pile of love" is a site-specific project that shifts freely between strict formalism and the dramatic potential of a set. In the gallery, six low platforms serve as frames for adding something that is between painting, sculpture and arrangement. They act as stations or pauses on this “new” floor site. One platform is left empty, as if ready for action, inciting viewers to become part of the staging.

Riddle’s interest is not with monumental space, but rather with sites of the real, of the banal, of the feminized, in short, with spaces women are typically left to reflect upon and to which she assigns content that relates back to minimalism proper. It is this trajectory that helps conjure concrete evidence of a past for this rendition of a present — the (female) artist was here.

Jeanie Riddle lives and works in Montreal. She obtained an MFA from Concordia University in 2005 and was the recipient of the inaugural Yves Gaucher Award (2002). Her work in painting has been shown in Montreal (Rad'a, Pratt & Whitney, and Studio Orange), and in San Francisco (Somar and Natoma Space). She has shown collaborative work at Centre des arts actuel SKOL and at Alley Jaunt in Toronto. She has recently shown solo installation work at The New Gallery 15+ project in Calgary, and in May 2005, she received a full fellowship to The Vermont Studio Center. She is currently preparing for an upcoming solo exhibition at YYZ, Toronto (May 2006).