The Eyelash and the Monochrome

Tiziana La Melia

28 November 2014 - 31 January 2015
Opening Reception 28 November 2014 7pm


Mercer Union is delighted to present a new solo exhibition by Vancouver-based artist Tiziana La Melia, opening Friday 28 November with an artist talk at 7PM, followed by a public reception until 10PM.

Tiziana La Melia weaves writing, sculpture, painting and performance in layered installations which speak to female archetypes, personal narratives, passions and teenage desires. Exploring the potentiality of slippages between language and form, her work seeps between figuration and abstraction, in all senses of the terms.

Canadian poet Daphne Marlatt has described “the active intelligence of language,” for La Melia there is no distinction between the different art forms or objects, everything is a signifier. References are multi-faceted, from Greek tragedy, teenage obsessions, the writings of Joyce Carol Oates, Mark Twain, Gertrude Stein or Yvonne Rainer among others, the personal and incidental, to female icons throughout history and in the present, pushing and pulling in different directions.

Writing is often the starting point, from poem to script to play. Poetry lines become work titles, transforming the written word into the physical space of the gallery, or walls become pages, unfolding narratives populated by objects and materials. The exhibition is a space in which hierarchies collapse, theatre, poetry, writing, mythological female figures, personal narratives and popular culture are combined and meaning becomes elastic in form. Transmutability lingers throughout the work, in a photographic collage, Surface Instruction (2011), a worn apron becomes an oversized handbag while a twin table with pink glass emerges and recedes as Janis Joplin’s rose-tinted glasses in Aquarium Club Console (Janis) (2014). And yet underlying sometimes playful juxtapositions are historical instances and trajectories. Live snails drawing on plastic speaks to the use of their shells in making the colour purple for women only manuscripts, becoming in of itself purple prose.

In this new body of work a series of sequences are presented; hanging photographic collages, a metallic and purple bed, screens, paintings are no longer windows but doors, and a line is drawn along the gallery wall to stretch and physically push one’s limits. The potentiality of interplay manifests in the exhibition title, The Eyelash and the Monochrome. The line, a cursor with connotations of femininity and luck, is adjoined to the blank canvas, rather than painterly in reference, it implicates the presence of absence, spaces in which there is potential for new narratives to be created.

Tiziana La Melia (b. Palmero IT) is an interdisciplinary artist working in painting, installation, film and writing. She received her MFA from the University of Guelph in 2011 and BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2008. Recent exhibition venues include Macaulay & Co. Fine Arts , Vancouver; The Apartment, Vancouver; Xspace, Toronto; Western Front, Vancouver, and SBC Galerie, Montreal. La Melia’s writing has appeared in Night Papers V, Bartleby Review, Setup Magazine, Millions Magazine, Pelt and West Coast Line among others. Selected readings and screenings of her work include Wendy’s Subway, New York; Model, Vancouver, and The Banff Centre, where she participated in the residency Figure in a Mountain Landscape. In 2014, she was the Writer in Residence at TPW R&D, Toronto. La Melia is the 2014 winner of the RBC Painting Competition and is represented by The Apartment. She lives and works in Vancouver BC.

Tiziana La Melia would like to thank Sylvain Sailly, Julian Hou, Nadia Belerique, Ada Smailbegovic, and the staff at Mercer Union. La Melia and Mercer Union would like to thank Artscape Gibraltor Point for their support of Tiziana La Melia’s residency in Toronto.


Image: Tiziana La Melia, Thought Column for Joan Dark the Saint (2013-2014), dye sublimation print on polyester faille, mugwort. Image courtesy of the artist and The Apartment. Photo credit: Jimmy Limit