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Item Name: Mixed Media
Title: Aporia
Maker: Gisele Amantea
Year: 1989
Country: Canadian
Materials: wood, ceramic, paint, mirror
Measurements: 3 mirrors (each): 51 cm x 65 cm x 4.5 cm
ID Number: PC92.1

Extended Label Info: Created by Gisele Amantea when she lived in Regina, these three gilt-framed round mirrors were part of a larger exhibition entitled “Aporia” at MacKenzie Art Gallery in 1989. Each mirror has a text etched into it: a definition of resentment from an article in Artforum, the poem “The White Birds” by William Butler Yeats, and a quote about feminist art and muted voices in the world of art. The use of mirror and the frames of roses (handmade by Amantea using techniques similar to cake decoration) are part of the artist’s on-going interest in ornamentation. Amantea has also discussed these works in reference to a painting by Marsden Hartley, “Roses” (1941) and the practice among sailors in Nova Scotia of commemorating their dead by throwing wreaths of flowers into the sea. The term "Aporia" means unresolvable doubt, internal contradiction or logical disjunction in a text, argument, or theory, such as the phrase, “heaven is a place on earth." In this work, the mirrors and text create a situation of disjunction in several ways. The reflection divides the self into two, an image and a physical body. The reflective surface also splits apart the act of reading. When we read the words for their meanings, we can’t focus on our reflection; and when we pause to gaze at our image, the text disappears. The image of the self and the image of language alternate but can never coexist within the mirror. Amantea’s work uses this precarious and contradictory relationship between body and image to think about other liminal states, such as the border between life and death, between genders and social roles, as identified through feminism, and between high art and ornamentation. Gisele Marie Amantea (1953- ) Born in Calgary, Amantea earned her BFA at the University of Calgary (1976) and her MFA from the University of Puget Sound, Washington (1979). She currently lives in Montreal, where she taught in the Studio Arts program at Concordia University from 1995 to 2012. Amantea is known for creating interdisciplinary work in a variety of media, including sculpture, drawing, wallpaper and textiles to video, graphic novels and book-works. Her sculptures often explore incorporate texture and found objects, exploring the role of ornament and decoration in relation to architectural space. She also researches deeply into the history and context of a place or object to create work, exploring questions related to gender, class, nostalgia, history, memory and the relationship of private and public space. Her artwork has been exhibited widely in Canada and internationally, notably in “Oh, Canada” - a major survey exhibition of work by Canadian artists curated by MASS MoCA in the USA.