Craft Talk :: Willow Rector

In partnership with Gallery 1C03 at The University of Winnipeg, the Manitoba Craft Council is pleased to be co-sponsoring this artist talk with Willow Rector, as part of exhibition of new work, TRAPPED.
Friday, September 26 at 12:30 p.m.
Room 2M70 (2nd floor of Manitoba Hall)
The University of Winnipeg
515 Portage Ave
The exhibition will run September 11 – November 8, 2014
at Gallery 1C03, University of Winnipeg
TRAPPED features textile embroideries and sculptures drawn from two new bodies of work by visual artist Willow Rector that explore the complex question of identity as it is rooted in our experiences of sexuality, desire, the topography of home, and the cultural narratives of our national identities.
In her TRAPPED series, Rector examines the influence that the Group of Seven has had on our understanding of the Canadian landscape. She questions the way our identities have been shaped by these iconic and mythical depictions of home. By juxtaposing animal pelts with embroidered allusions to works of the Group, she creates concrete representations of the intersection between cultural narratives and personal experiences of place. She suggests that the Group of Seven’s aesthetic has become “trapped” by its own beauty, and that this narrative is no longer sufficient to reflect the realities of contemporary Canadian life.
The second body of work featured in this exhibition, titled This is a Photograph of Me, focuses on Rector’s experience of the sublime. A richly embroidered tapestry, At the Hundredth Meridian, evokes the landscape of Riding Mountain National Park, which was home to some of the animals represented in TRAPPED. With this expressionistic landscape, Rector aims to embody both the awe-inspiring beauty and terrifying power of nature.
Willow Rector is a Winnipeg-based visual artist. She completed degrees in English Literature from the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba and taught in that field for a number of years. Having first learned hand embroidery in her youth, she made the switch to a full-time career as a visual artist within the last three years. Rector has studied various media through courses and mentorship programs at Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and Martha Street Studio. Her artistic practice focuses on issues of subjectivity and identity, addressing themes ranging from women’s artistic and literary history to the Canadian landscape, and exploring connections between the tactile nature of textiles and the way memory is constructed. Rector’s works have been included in several group exhibitions throughout Manitoba as well as in Alberta and Ontario, and she has received grants from the Manitoba Arts Council and the Winnipeg Arts Council.