Critics’ Picks

View of “Erica Stocking,” 2015.

Vancouver

Erica Stocking

Artspeak
233 Carrall Street
June 6–July 25, 2015

Boots, slippers, sweaters, skirts . . . Erica Stocking’s latest exhibition is a fashion show of sorts yet confounds in its absence of a model. Instead, unassuming articles of clothing themselves seem to walk, rendering the everyday in a collection of seventeen ghostlike sculptural volumes.

Suspended stiffly over soft cylindrical plinths, colorful garments are replicated meticulously in painted canvas. It becomes apparent that the show is equally an exhibition of paintings. Stocking’s work continually forces this double take, superimposing a material strangeness onto the familiar. Whether in the bend of a sleeve or the fold of a skirt, the properties of the items are accurately depicted, yet they fail to pass as real. Using her family’s home videos as source material, the artist reproduces objects from this documentation, retaining aspects of their surfaces without their essence. Just as memory often vividly recalls patterns, shapes, and gestures but confuses relational qualities of scale or weight, Stocking’s hollow forms surprise in their autonomy and structural integrity, becoming animated, flamboyant, garish, even grotesque.

The works’ titles speak to personal histories that are merely hinted at. In Christmas Morning (all works 2015), for instance, a pair of turquoise underpants is inflated, crotch-side up, revealing its careful stitching and the blankness of its canvas insides. Peruvian Blanket Honeymoon Souvenir / Never to Return / A Hole shows a rolled rug poised with its tassels frozen in a rigid defiance of gravity, as if caught while spinning. Quivering ever so slightly in these moments of seeming stillness, the sculptures capture something of the mystery that is an object’s ultimate unknowability, its long-winded journeys through use and disuse.